GHIC 2015: Global Health & Innovation Conference
March 28-29, 2015
Yale University, New Haven, CT

Focus on Quality: Evidence- and Outcomes-Based Conference

The Global Health & Innovation Conference is the world's leading and largest global health conference and social entrepreneurship conference. Presented annually by Unite For Sight, the Global Health & Innovation Conference provides a forum for the most thorough, comprehensive, and groundbreaking work in global health, social entrepreneurship, and international development.  In order to advance the world's health outcomes, and in order to ensure the high quality of all conference presentations, Unite For Sight is revolutionary in that it always requires speakers to focus their presentations on outcomes, data, and evidence that support their conclusions. 

Outcomes measurements, as opposed to the commonly-reported outputs, are essential in health and development. In performance assessment, outputs are defined as the goods or services produced by programs or agencies, whereas outcomes are defined as the impact that those outputs have on social, economic, or other indicators.  Typically, outputs are used to document the amount or volume of use of the project's products or services. While outputs are important to track, all health and development programs must focus on measuring outcomes that reveal the extent and kinds of impact that the project has on its participants. Impact could be reported in the amount of change in behavior, attitude, skills, knowledge or condition of the target population. For example, an output would be the number of microfinance loans distributed, or the number of loans repaid. This type of information is not very useful. A microfinance recipient might repay a loan by taking an additional loan from a different microfinance institution. Therefore, repayment of a loan does not indicate that the individual has implemented a business that has enabled them to increase their income in order to repay their loan. In contrast, the outcome would be the number of microfinance participants who have significantly increased their income or risen out of poverty due to the loans.  Similarly, the output for a job training program is the number of people enrolled in the program.  However, perhaps the job training program is so ineffective that none of the participants are subsequently able to secure a job. The measurable impact is the outcome, which reports on the number of people who were able to get a new, higher-paying job due to the training program, as measured by income improvement or poverty reduction.

Focusing on outcomes also necessitates the use of thorough, unbiased data.  While many innovators have exciting, unique ideas, and may even have anecdotal testimonials suggesting success, only supporting data can prove success and quality.  Implementing or scaling up a project without input from the local community, and without quantitative evidence demonstrating that it is actually benefiting the intended population, can lead to tremendous waste of money, resources, and time.  Furthermore, improperly or prematurely implemented programs can cause significant harm to the local community.  Therefore, in order to ensure effective programs, those involved in health and development must focus on evidence, outcomes, and the local context.  

The Global Health & Innovation Conference highlights the work of innovators who are using data, outcomes, and input from local communities to make positive change.  Our featured speakers present programs that are proven effective with outcomes.  Our Social Enterprise Pitch presenters discuss programs that are in development.  Though these pitched programs do not yet have data, the presenters are required to demonstrate the evidence basis for their idea, as well as a concrete plan to measure outcomes.