Abstract: Background: Since 2008, Australia has embarked on major healthcare reforms extending across all states and territories. Only limited evidence linking national healthcare reforms to improvement in public hospital performance exists. This evidence gap is even more pronounced in the case of remote hospital performance. This article describes a protocol retrospectively assessing a remote hospital programme to implement emergency department performance indicators, in the context of national reforms, over a period of 7 years (2008–2014). Challenges to implementing these reforms are explored. Method: Assessing the complex scenario of reform implementation requires an in-depth analysis, offered by a Realist Evaluation framework. Within this framework, a case study design is adopted to enable descriptive analysis. Interviews with key hospital stakeholders were followed by a literature review to identify a programme theory. The programme theory was articulated in the form of a preliminary context-mechanism-outcome configuration (CMOC). This theory will underlie further data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Both Realist Evaluation and case study allow flexibility in a choice of methods; both quantitative and qualitative methods will be incorporated. The thematic analysis will be employed to identify causal relationships and linkages in collected data. Discussion: Assembled data will be used to develop final CMOC patterns. The final CMOC will help in understanding the theory and mechanisms in use in the hospital.
- Case study
- Emergency department performance
- Health reforms
- Realist evaluation