PROGRAM evaluation studies are notable for the large number of people in favor of doing them and the small number of people who actually try. This is very understandable considering both the importance of good information about the usefulness of various health programs and the extreme difficulty of obtaining this information.
In the area of mental health programs, the call for studies is, if anything, louder, and the number of studies, fewer. In a time of expanding programs and rising costs, this is an unfortunate situation which demands a high priority of attention.
It is our purpose here to examine one type of program evaluation—evaluation of the quality of mental health services—and to suggest in what ways immediate progress in the field may be possible. The stimulus of our consideration is a paper by Donabedian1 in which he discusses quality evaluation of medical care. We will not repeat what