BMC Psychology: An introduction to implementation science for the non-specialist.

Please find below the citation, abstract and selected extracts of a new paper in the open-access journal BMC Psychology.

Implementation science is “the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other EBPs into routine practice, and, hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services.”

‘This field incorporates a scope broader than traditional clinical research, focusing not only at the patient level but also at the provider, organization, and policy levels of healthcare. Accordingly, implementation research requires trans-disciplinary research teams that include members who are not routinely part of most clinical trials such as health services researchers; economists; sociologists; anthropologists; organizational scientists; and operational partners including administrators, front-line clinicians, and patients.’

CITATION: An introduction to implementation science for the non-specialist.

Bauer MS, Damschroder L, Hagedorn H, Smith J, Kilbourne AM.

BMC Psychol. 2015; 3(1): 32.

Published online 2015 Sep 16. doi:  10.1186/s40359-015-0089-9

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4573926/

Contact: mark.bauer@va.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The movement of evidence-based practices (EBPs) into routine clinical usage is not spontaneous, but requires focused efforts. The field of implementation science has developed to facilitate the spread of EBPs, including both psychosocial and medical interventions for mental and physical health concerns.

DISCUSSION: The authors aim to introduce implementation science principles to non-specialist investigators, administrators, and policymakers seeking to become familiar with this emerging field. This introduction is based on published literature and the authors’ experience as researchers in the field, as well as extensive service as implementation science grant reviewers. Implementation science is “the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other EBPs into routine practice, and, hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services.” Implementation science is distinct from, but shares characteristics with, both quality improvement and dissemination methods. Implementation studies can be either assess naturalistic variability or measure change in response to planned intervention. Implementation studies typically employ mixed quantitative-qualitative designs, identifying factors that impact uptake across multiple levels, including patient, provider, clinic, facility, organization, and often the broader community and policy environment. Accordingly, implementation science requires a solid grounding in theory and the involvement of trans-disciplinary research teams.

SUMMARY: The business case for implementation science is clear: As healthcare systems work under increasingly dynamic and resource-constrained conditions, evidence-based strategies are essential in order to ensure that research investments maximize healthcare value and improve public health. Implementation science plays a critical role in supporting these efforts.

SELECTED EXTRACTS (selected by Neil PW)

‘It has been widely reported that evidence-based practices (EBPs) take on average 17 years to be incorporated into routine general practice in health care [1–3]. Even this dismal estimate presents an unrealistically rosy projection, as only about half of EBPs ever reach widespread clinical usage.’

‘A useful conceptualization of the biomedical research process has been as a “pipeline” whereby an intervention moves from efficacy through effectiveness trials to sustained application in general practice. Blockages can appear at various stages, leading to quality gaps as EBPs are applied in less controlled settings. Many factors can impede EBP uptake, including competing demands on frontline providers; lack of knowledge, skills and resources; and misalignment of research evidence with operational priorities can all impede uptake. Accordingly, there is clear need to develop specific strategies to promote the uptake of EBPs into general clinical usage. Implementation science has developed to address these needs.’

Best wishes,

Neil

Let’s build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare knowledge – Join HIFA: www.hifa2015.org  

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