Definition and Purpose of Evaluation at HHS
HHS defines evaluation as the assessment of the performance (efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness) of HHS programs or strategies through the analysis of data or information collected systematically and ethically, and the effective use of resulting information in strategic planning, program or policy decision making and program improvement. As mentioned in the foreword of this report, evaluations serve one or more of the following purposes:
Program effectiveness provides a way to determine the impact of HHS programs on achieving intended goals and objectives.
Performance measurement is the primary mechanism used to monitor annual progress in achieving departmental strategic and performance goals. To support performance measurement, we are investing evaluation funds to develop and improve performance measurement systems and the quality of the data that supports those systems.
Environmental assessment is the way we understand the forces of change in the health and human services environment that will influence the success of our programs and the achievement of our goals and objectives. In turn, this understanding allows us to adjust our strategies and continue to deliver effective health and human services.
Program management reflects the need of program managers to obtain information or data helpful for effectively designing and managing a program. These evaluations generally focus on developmental or operational aspects of program activities and provide understanding of services delivered and populations served.