Objectives: This study examined users' perceptions of the role and value of the Scottish Health Purchasing Information Centre (SHPIC) from 1995 to 1998.
Methods: Questionnaires and interviews were used to gather data from Scottish GP fundholders and health board managers at two stages.
Results: Initially, purchasers sought help in identifying the most relevant information. By 1997, while some appreciated the clinical and cost-effectiveness information produced, others were critical of lack of timely production and apparent lack of cooperation between agencies.
Conclusions: New U.K. agencies can learn from SHPIC's problems, specifically in producing clear, coordinated, timely, independent, and well-marketed information with implementation strategies.
Policy Implications: It is important to evaluate the impact of agencies to produce and disseminate evidence-based information, even if this has to be done pragmatically rather than as an outcomes-based assessment. Evidence from evaluations can inform direction and strategy for existing and new agencies.