Increased interest in accountability and effectiveness has led to the establishment of organizations dedicated to measurement and evaluation. The federal governments Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, and National Center for Health Statistics are three examples. Expanding this concept with a focus on the international arena, in 2007, the Gates Foundation made a grant of more than $100 million to the University of Washington to create the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
IHME is intended to inform the development of public health initiatives at all stages of the lifecycle. It has five purposes: (1) to develop more consistent and accurate public health data, (2) to improve the analysis of such data, (3) to make better use of data to identify the need for specific interventions, (4) to use rigorous evaluations to document the effectiveness of targeted health interventions, and (5) to use its data and analyses to inform policymakers as they formulate and plan initiatives or chart courses for sustainability. The IHME focuses on five operational areas: health outcomes; health services; resource inputs; decision analytics; and evaluations.
IHME takes a consultative and comprehensive approach to its work. This includes attention to developing, applying, and disseminating instruments, data, and evaluation findings to a broad variety of audiences. As part of its core principles of collaboration and consultation, IHME works with the global health communityincluding outside researchers, practitioners, and governments, as well as those affected by an analysisto determine what ought to be measured and how best to measure it (IHME website, Who We Are n.d.). Another core principle, comprehensibility, leads IHME to make information available in formats that are understandable and useful to these same varied groups. In line with all of the Gates Foundations major initiatives, IHME also seeks to focus on areas where it can make the greatest contribution. It does so by seeking to identify and understand global disease burden, leading causes of death by country, greatest opportunities for health improvement by country, and methods for applying data to decision making.