During 1995 and 1996, researchers at the Barents Group conducted an external evaluation of the Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO) initiative as part of an overall Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) review of HCFO. (See the Program Results Report.)
HCFO is designed to stimulate research into new strategies in the financing of health care and the organization of its delivery systems. This evaluation assessed the initiative's contribution to an improved understanding of health care financing and organization issues and the effectiveness of the technical assistance provided by the national program office.
The evaluators reported that researchers perceive HCFO as filling a particular "niche" in the research funding spectrum as a stable funding source for research projects.
The evaluators recommended that HCFO:
- Expand its scope and level of diversity to fund qualitative research methodologies and conceptual and theoretical research.
- Recruit a more diverse set of advisors and reviewers to assist program staff.
- Enhance the influence on the policy process of results from HCFO-funded projects by providing additional guidance on policy relevance to investigators.
- Streamline management to concentrate on technical assistance to potential and active grantees and dissemination of HCFO research findings.
- Improve the policy impact of dissemination activities by expanding the target audience and creating a comprehensive source of key findings and policy implications of HCFO projects.