TNDMS - The National Diabetes Management Strategy
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Research Studies ...

DEFINE Program - The Importance of Evaluation and DEFINE


A series of questions and answers regarding the importance and benefits of conducting evaluation studies as well as a description of the contribution and advantages of using DEFINE.

Why evaluate Diabetes programs, initiatives, and/or strategies?

What is the purpose of evaluations?

What are the key benefits to doing evaluations?

Need more information?

Why evaluate diabetes programs, initiatives, and/or strategies?

As described in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes:"Investments in Diabetes Strategies: Time to Evaluate!" (Harris & Paquette-Warren, 2014) Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 38:3, June 2014

  • Diabetes rates are on the rise: The rising prevalence of diabetes and its associated burden on patients and the healthcare system has led to many efforts to improve the quality of care in Canada. (Canadian Diabetes Association, 2011; Office of the Auditor General of Canada, 2013; Public Health Agency of Canada, 2011a; Public Health Agency of Canada, 2011b; World Health Organization, 2008)

  • Primary healthcare evaluation is lacking: Evaluation of primary care quality improvement efforts has been minimal. (Dubois et al., 2011; Nasmith et al., 2010)

  • Evidence-based initiatives and policies are needed: DEFINE was created to: move beyond system performance to explore the relationship between investments/programs and outcomes; more accurately measure the impact of investments and inform/enable policy makers, government, and other stakeholders; and to build knowledge and evidence needed to improve the Canadian healthcare system. (Blalock, 1999; Borgermans et al., 2008; Harris & Paquette-Warren, 2014; Office of the Auditor General of Canada, 2013)

  • A comprehensive diabetes evaluation framework is needed: A standardized and rigorous evaluation framework does not exist to study the causal relationships between program and outcomes. This is needed to better understand the multitude of mechanisms underlying care and inform healthcare decision makers and stakeholders about the state of their healthcare system. (Borgermans et al., 2008; Dubois et al., 2011; Paquette-Warren et al., 2014)

Doing evaluations can help you defend the fact that your program is worth having.  Evaluation provides information needed to maintain and support programs that are actually making a difference. Knowledge produced by evaluations can change how funds are directed or re-directed and can influence overarching strategies.

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What is the purpose of evaluations?

Of great importance in understanding the purpose of evaluation is to recognize the role of evaluation both in providing evidence regarding the impact(or degree of success) of a program, and for gaining a better understanding of how to improvethe program in the future. Regardless of a program’s size, it should be evaluated to determine its successes, limitations, and challenges to inform future policy and program planning.

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What are the key benefits to doing evaluations?

  • Increased knowledge of the program’s strengths and limitations
  • Better understanding of progress and impact
  • More accountability – was the program carried out as intended? What value was achieved for the money spent?
  • Enhanced decision-making power related to future program planning with the potential to affect policy.

Need more information?

For more information about the importance of evaluating diabetes programs, intiatives or strategies, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to hear from you.

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Blalock, A. B. (1999). Evaluation research and the performance management movement: From estrangement to useful integration? Evaluation, 5(2), 117-149.  Retrieved from

Borgermans, L. A., Goderis, G., Ouwens, M., Wens, J., Heyrman, J., & Grol, R. P. (2008). Diversity in diabetes care programmes and views on high quality diabetes care: Are we in need of a standardized framework? International Journal of Integrated Care, 8, 1-15. Retrieved from

Canadian Diabetes Association. (2011). Diabetes: Canada at the tipping point. Toronto: Canadian Diabetes Association. Retrieved from

Dubois, N., Lloyd, S., Houle, J., Mercier, C., Brousselle, A., & Rey, L. (2011). Discussion: Practice-based evaluation as a response to address intervention complexity. The Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 26(3), 105-113. Retrieved from

Harris, S. B., & Paquette-Warren, J. (2014). Investments in diabetes strategies: Time to evaluate! Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 38(3), 159-160. Retrieved from

Nasmith L., Ballem P., Baxter R., Bergman H., Colin-Thomé D., Herbert C., Keating N., Lessard R., Lyons R., McMurchy D., Ratner P., Rosenbaum P., Tamblyn R., Wagner E.,& Zimmerman B. (2010). Transforming care for Canadians with chronic health conditions: Put people first, expect the best, manage for results. Ottawa: Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Retrieved from

Office of the Auditor General of Canada. (2013). 2013 Spring report of the Auditor General of Canada.  Ottawa: Office of the Auditor General of Canada. Retrieved from

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2011a). Diabetes in Canada: Facts and figures from a public health perspective. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada. Retrieved from

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2011b). United Nations NCD summit 2011.  Chronic diseases - most significant cause of death globally. Retrieved from

World Health Organization. (2006). Quality of care: A process for making strategic choices in health systems. Geneva:World Health Organization. Retrieved from

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