Balancing stakeholder needs in the evaluation of healthcare quality improvement

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Quality improvement (QI) efforts affect a broader range of people than we often assume. These are the potential stakeholders for QI and its evaluation, and they have valuable perspectives to offer when they are consulted in planning, conducting and interpreting evaluations. QI practitioners are accustomed to consulting stakeholders to assess unintended consequences or assess patient experiences of care, but in many cases there are additional benefits to a broad inclusion of stakeholders. These benefits are better adherence to ethical standards, to assure that all legitimate interests take part, more useful and relevant evaluation information and better political buy-in to improve impact. Balancing various stakeholder needs for information requires skill for both politics and research management. These challenges have few pat answers, but several preferred practices, which are illustrated with practical examples.

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