Evidence Building Efforts
OMB Circular A-11, Section 210.11 requires that Annual Performance Reports describe evaluations or other relevant evidence activities, and how a portfolio of evidence is used to inform decision-making. Evaluation and analysis provide essential evidence for HHS to understand how its programs work, for whom, and under what circumstances. HHS builds evidence through evaluation and analysis in order to inform decisions in budget, legislative, regulatory, strategic planning, program, and policy arenas. Given the breadth of work supported by HHS, many evaluations and analyses are conducted each year. These efforts range in scope, scale, design, and methodology, but all aim to understand the effects of programs and policies and how they can be improved.
Evaluation at HHS: Across HHS, evaluation comes in many forms including 1) formal program evaluations using the most rigorous designs appropriate; 2) capacity-building initiatives to improve administrative data collection, accessibility, and use for management; 3) exploratory quantitative and qualitative analysis to build preliminary evidence; 4) pilots and demonstrations; and 5) statistical analysis of factors related to the implementation, performance, and outcomes of health and human services programs and policies. Findings from a variety of evaluations and analyses are disseminated to the public on HHS agency websites such as Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (ACF) and the Innovation Center at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS). HHS coordinates its evaluation community by regularly convening the HHS Evaluation & Evidence Policy Council, which builds capacity by sharing best practices and promising new approaches across the department.
Disseminating Evidence: In addition to building evidence through a broad range of rigorous empirical studies, analysis, and evaluations, HHS supports multiple clearinghouses that catalog, review, and disseminate evidence related to programs such as the ACF Research and Evaluation Clearinghouses on Self-Sufficiency, Employment Strategies, Strengthening Families, Home Visiting, and Child Care and Early Education; the AHRQ United States Preventive Services Task Force; the CDC Community Guide; or the SAMHSA Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center.