The aim of this work was to develop a National Evaluation Framework to facilitate the standardization of delivery, quality, reporting, and evaluation of diabetes education and support programs delivered throughout Australia through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS). The NDSS is funded by the Australian Government, and provides access to diabetes information, education, support, and subsidized product across diverse settings in each state and territory of Australia through seven independent service-providers. This article reports the approach undertaken to develop the Framework.
A participatory approach was undertaken, focused on adopting nationally consistent outcomes and indicators, nominating objectives and measurement tools, specifying evaluation processes, and developing quality standards. Existing programs were classified based on related, overarching indicators enabling the adoption of a tiered system of evaluation.
Two outcomes (i.e., improved clinical, reduced cost) and four indicators (i.e., improved knowledge and understanding, self-management, self-determination, psychosocial adjustment) were adopted from the Eigenmann and Colagiuri national consensus position statement for diabetes education. This allowed for the identification of objectives (i.e., improved empowerment, reduced distress, autonomy supportive program delivery, consumer satisfaction) and related measurement instruments. Programs were categorized as comprehensive, topic-specific, or basic education, with comprehensive programs allocated to receive the highest-level of evaluation. Eight quality standards were developed, with existing programs tested against those standards. Based on the results of testing, two comprehensive (OzDAFNE for people with type 1 diabetes, DESMOND for people with type 2 diabetes), and eight topic-specific (CarbSmart, ShopSmart, MonitorSmart, FootSmart, MedSmart, Living with Insulin, Insulin Pump Workshop, Ready Set Go – Let’s Move) structured diabetes self-management education and support programs were nominated for national delivery.
The National Evaluation Framework has facilitated consistency of program quality, delivery, and evaluation of programs delivered by multiple service providers across diverse contexts. The Framework could be applied by other service providers who facilitate multiple diabetes education and support programs and could be adapted for use in other chronic disease populations where education and support are indicated.