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1.  A critical synthesis of literature on the promoting action on research implementation in health services (PARIHS) framework 
Background
The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services framework, or PARIHS, is a conceptual framework that posits key, interacting elements that influence successful implementation of evidence-based practices. It has been widely cited and used as the basis for empirical work; however, there has not yet been a literature review to examine how the framework has been used in implementation projects and research. The purpose of the present article was to critically review and synthesize the literature on PARIHS to understand how it has been used and operationalized, and to highlight its strengths and limitations.
Methods
We conducted a qualitative, critical synthesis of peer-reviewed PARIHS literature published through March 2009. We synthesized findings through a three-step process using semi-structured data abstraction tools and group consensus.
Results
Twenty-four articles met our inclusion criteria: six core concept articles from original PARIHS authors, and eighteen empirical articles ranging from case reports to quantitative studies. Empirical articles generally used PARIHS as an organizing framework for analyses. No studies used PARIHS prospectively to design implementation strategies, and there was generally a lack of detail about how variables were measured or mapped, or how conclusions were derived. Several studies used findings to comment on the framework in ways that could help refine or validate it. The primary issue identified with the framework was a need for greater conceptual clarity regarding the definition of sub-elements and the nature of dynamic relationships. Strengths identified included its flexibility, intuitive appeal, explicit acknowledgement of the outcome of 'successful implementation,' and a more expansive view of what can and should constitute 'evidence.'
Conclusions
While we found studies reporting empirical support for PARIHS, the single greatest need for this and other implementation models is rigorous, prospective use of the framework to guide implementation projects. There is also need to better explain derived findings and how interventions or measures are mapped to specific PARIHS elements; greater conceptual discrimination among sub-elements may be necessary first. In general, it may be time for the implementation science community to develop consensus guidelines for reporting the use and usefulness of theoretical frameworks within implementation studies.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-82
PMCID: PMC2988065  PMID: 20973988
2.  A Guide for applying a revised version of the PARIHS framework for implementation 
Background
Based on a critical synthesis of literature on use of the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) framework, revisions and a companion Guide were developed by a group of researchers independent of the original PARIHS team. The purpose of the Guide is to enhance and optimize efforts of researchers using PARIHS in implementation trials and evaluations.
Methods
Authors used a planned, structured process to organize and synthesize critiques, discussions, and potential recommendations for refinements of the PARIHS framework arising from a systematic review. Using a templated form, each author independently recorded key components for each reviewed paper; that is, study definitions, perceived strengths/limitations of PARIHS, other observations regarding key issues and recommendations regarding needed refinements. After reaching consensus on these key components, the authors summarized the information and developed the Guide.
Results
A number of revisions, perceived as consistent with the PARIHS framework's general nature and intent, are proposed. The related Guide is composed of a set of reference tools, provided in Additional files. Its core content is built upon the basic elements of PARIHS and current implementation science.
Conclusions
We invite researchers using PARIHS for targeted evidence-based practice (EBP) implementations with a strong task-orientation to use this Guide as a companion and to apply the revised framework prospectively and comprehensively. Researchers also are encouraged to evaluate its use relative to perceived strengths and issues. Such evaluations and critical reflections regarding PARIHS and our Guide could thereby promote the framework's continued evolution.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-99
PMCID: PMC3184083  PMID: 21878092
3.  The role of evidence, context, and facilitation in an implementation trial: implications for the development of the PARIHS framework 
Background
The case has been made for more and better theory-informed process evaluations within trials in an effort to facilitate insightful understandings of how interventions work. In this paper, we provide an explanation of implementation processes from one of the first national implementation research randomized controlled trials with embedded process evaluation conducted within acute care, and a proposed extension to the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) framework.
Methods
The PARIHS framework was prospectively applied to guide decisions about intervention design, data collection, and analysis processes in a trial focussed on reducing peri-operative fasting times. In order to capture a holistic picture of implementation processes, the same data were collected across 19 participating hospitals irrespective of allocation to intervention. This paper reports on findings from data collected from a purposive sample of 151 staff and patients pre- and post-intervention. Data were analysed using content analysis within, and then across data sets.
Results
A robust and uncontested evidence base was a necessary, but not sufficient condition for practice change, in that individual staff and patient responses such as caution influenced decision making. The implementation context was challenging, in which individuals and teams were bounded by professional issues, communication challenges, power and a lack of clarity for the authority and responsibility for practice change. Progress was made in sites where processes were aligned with existing initiatives. Additionally, facilitators reported engaging in many intervention implementation activities, some of which result in practice changes, but not significant improvements to outcomes.
Conclusions
This study provided an opportunity for reflection on the comprehensiveness of the PARIHS framework. Consistent with the underlying tenant of PARIHS, a multi-faceted and dynamic story of implementation was evident. However, the prominent role that individuals played as part of the interaction between evidence and context is not currently explicit within the framework. We propose that successful implementation of evidence into practice is a planned facilitated process involving an interplay between individuals, evidence, and context to promote evidence-informed practice. This proposal will enhance the potential of the PARIHS framework for explanation, and ensure theoretical development both informs and responds to the evidence base for implementation.
Trial registration
ISRCTN18046709 - Peri-operative Implementation Study Evaluation (PoISE).
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-28
PMCID: PMC3636004  PMID: 23497438
4.  Promoting physical therapists’ of research evidence to inform clinical practice: part 1 - theoretical foundation, evidence, and description of the PEAK program 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:125.
Background
There is a need for theoretically grounded and evidence-based interventions that enhance the use of research evidence in physical therapist practice. This paper and its companion paper introduce the Physical therapist-driven Education for Actionable Knowledge translation (PEAK) program, an educational program designed to promote physical therapists’ integration of research evidence into clinical decision-making. The pedagogical foundations for the PEAK educational program include Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory and Malcolm Knowles’s adult learning theory. Additionally, two complementary frameworks of knowledge translation, the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARiHS) and Knowledge to Action (KTA) Cycle, were used to inform the organizational elements of the program. Finally, the program design was influenced by evidence from previous attempts to facilitate the use of research in practice at the individual and organizational levels.
Discussion
The 6-month PEAK program consisted of four consecutive and interdependent components. First, leadership support was secured and electronic resources were acquired and distributed to participants. Next, a two-day training workshop consisting of didactic and small group activities was conducted that addressed the five steps of evidence based practice. For five months following the workshop, participants worked in small groups to review and synthesize literature around a group-selected area of common clinical interest. Each group contributed to the generation of a “Best Practices List” - a list of locally generated, evidence-based, actionable behaviors relevant to the groups’ clinical practice. Ultimately, participants agreed to implement the Best Practices List in their clinical practice.
Summary
This, first of two companion papers, describes the underlying pedagogical theories, knowledge translation frameworks, and research evidence used to derive the PEAK program – an educational program designed to promote the use of research evidence to inform physical therapist practice. The four components of the program are described in detail. The companion paper reports the results of a mixed methods feasibility analysis of this complex educational intervention.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-125
PMCID: PMC4085660  PMID: 24965501
Evidence based practice; Knowledge translation; Education; Post-graduate training; Physical therapy
5.  Development and assessment of the Alberta Context Tool 
Background
The context of healthcare organizations such as hospitals is increasingly accepted as having the potential to influence the use of new knowledge. However, the mechanisms by which the organizational context influences evidence-based practices are not well understood. Current measures of organizational context lack a theory-informed approach, lack construct clarity and generally have modest psychometric properties. This paper presents the development and initial psychometric validation of the Alberta Context Tool (ACT), an eight dimension measure of organizational context for healthcare settings.
Methods
Three principles guided the development of the ACT: substantive theory, brevity, and modifiability. The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARiHS) framework and related literature were used to guide selection of items in the ACT. The ACT was required to be brief enough to be tolerated in busy and resource stretched work settings and to assess concepts of organizational context that were potentially modifiable. The English version of the ACT was completed by 764 nurses (752 valid responses) working in seven Canadian pediatric care hospitals as part of its initial validation. Cronbach's alpha, exploratory factor analysis, analysis of variance, and tests of association were used to assess instrument reliability and validity.
Results
Factor analysis indicated a 13-factor solution (accounting for 59.26% of the variance in 'organizational context'). The composition of the factors was similar to those originally conceptualized. Cronbach's alpha for the 13 factors ranged from .54 to .91 with 4 factors performing below the commonly accepted alpha cut off of .70. Bivariate associations between instrumental research utilization levels (which the ACT was developed to predict) and the ACT's 13 factors were statistically significant at the 5% level for 12 of the 13 factors. Each factor also showed a trend of increasing mean score ranging from the lowest level to the highest level of instrumental research use, indicating construct validity.
Conclusions
To date, no completely satisfactory measures of organizational context are available for use in healthcare. The ACT assesses several core domains to provide a comprehensive account of organizational context in healthcare settings. The tool's strengths are its brevity (allowing it to be completed in busy healthcare settings) and its focus on dimensions of organizational context that are modifiable. Refinements of the instrument for acute, long term care, and home care settings are ongoing.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-234
PMCID: PMC2805628  PMID: 20003531
6.  Knowledge-to-action processes in SHRTN collaborative communities of practice: A study protocol 
Background
The Seniors Health Research Transfer Network (SHRTN) Collaborative is a network of networks that work together to improve the health and health care of Ontario seniors. The collaborative facilitates knowledge exchange through a library service, knowledge brokers (KBs), local implementation teams, collaborative technology, and, most importantly, Communities of Practice (CoPs) whose members work together to identify innovations, translate evidence, and help implement changes.
This project aims to increase our understanding of knowledge-to-action (KTA) processes mobilized through SHRTN CoPs that are working to improve the health of Ontario seniors. For this research, KTA refers to the movement of research and experience-based knowledge between social contexts, and the use of that knowledge to improve practice. We will examine the KTA processes themselves, as well as the role of human agents within those processes. The conceptual framework we have adopted to inform our research is the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) framework.
Methods/design
This study will use a multiple case study design (minimum of nine cases over three years) to investigate how SHRTN CoPs work and pursue knowledge exchange in different situations. Each case will yield a unique narrative, framed around the three PARIHS dimensions: evidence, context, and facilitation. Together, the cases will shed light on how SHRTN CoPs approach their knowledge exchange initiatives, and how they respond to challenges and achieve their objectives. Data will be collected using interviews, document analysis, and ethnographic observation.
Discussion
This research will generate new knowledge about the defining characteristics of CoPs operating in the health system, on leadership roles in CoPs, and on the nature of interaction processes, relationships, and knowledge exchange mechanisms. Our work will yield a better understanding of the factors that contribute to the success or failure of KTA initiatives, and create a better understanding of how local caregiving contexts interact with specific initiatives. Our participatory design will allow stakeholders to influence the practical usefulness of our findings and contribute to improved health services delivery for seniors.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-12
PMCID: PMC3055177  PMID: 21310083
7.  The relationship between characteristics of context and research utilization in a pediatric setting 
Background
Research utilization investigators have called for more focused examination of the influence of context on research utilization behaviors. Yet, up until recently, lack of instrumentation to identify and quantify aspects of organizational context that are integral to research use has significantly hampered these efforts. The Alberta Context Tool (ACT) was developed to assess the relationships between organizational factors and research utilization by a variety of healthcare professional groups. The purpose of this paper is to present findings from a pilot study using the ACT to elicit pediatric and neonatal healthcare professionals' perceptions of the organizational context in which they work and their use of research to inform practice. Specifically, we report on the relationship between dimensions of context, founded on the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) framework, and self-reported research use behavior.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey approach was employed using a version of the ACT, modified specifically for pediatric settings. The survey was administered to nurses working in three pediatric units in Alberta, Canada. Scores for three dimensions of context (culture, leadership and evaluation) were used to categorize respondent data into one of four context groups (high, moderately high, moderately low and low). We then examined the relationships between nurses' self-reported research use and their perceived context.
Results
A 69% response rate was achieved. Statistically significant differences in nurses' perceptions of culture, leadership and evaluation, and self-reported conceptual research use were found across the three units. Differences in instrumental research use across the three groups of nurses by unit were not significant. Higher self-reported instrumental and conceptual research use by all nurses in the sample was associated with more positive perceptions of their context.
Conclusions
Overall, the results of this study lend support to the view that more positive contexts are associated with higher reports of research use in practice. These findings have implications for organizational endeavors to promote evidence-informed practice and maximize the quality of care. Importantly, these findings can be used to guide the development of interventions to target modifiable characteristics of organizational context that are influential in shaping research use behavior.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-168
PMCID: PMC2908612  PMID: 20565714
8.  The NIHR collaboration for leadership in applied health research and care (CLAHRC) for greater manchester: combining empirical, theoretical and experiential evidence to design and evaluate a large-scale implementation strategy 
Background
In response to policy recommendations, nine National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs) were established in England in 2008, aiming to create closer working between the health service and higher education and narrow the gap between research and its implementation in practice. The Greater Manchester (GM) CLAHRC is a partnership between the University of Manchester and twenty National Health Service (NHS) trusts, with a five-year mission to improve healthcare and reduce health inequalities for people with cardiovascular conditions. This paper outlines the GM CLAHRC approach to designing and evaluating a large-scale, evidence- and theory-informed, context-sensitive implementation programme.
Discussion
The paper makes a case for embedding evaluation within the design of the implementation strategy. Empirical, theoretical, and experiential evidence relating to implementation science and methods has been synthesised to formulate eight core principles of the GM CLAHRC implementation strategy, recognising the multi-faceted nature of evidence, the complexity of the implementation process, and the corresponding need to apply approaches that are situationally relevant, responsive, flexible, and collaborative. In turn, these core principles inform the selection of four interrelated building blocks upon which the GM CLAHRC approach to implementation is founded. These determine the organizational processes, structures, and roles utilised by specific GM CLAHRC implementation projects, as well as the approach to researching implementation, and comprise: the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) framework; a modified version of the Model for Improvement; multiprofessional teams with designated roles to lead, facilitate, and support the implementation process; and embedded evaluation and learning.
Summary
Designing and evaluating a large-scale implementation strategy that can cope with and respond to the local complexities of implementing research evidence into practice is itself complex and challenging. We present an argument for adopting an integrative, co-production approach to planning and evaluating the implementation of research into practice, drawing on an eclectic range of evidence sources.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-96
PMCID: PMC3170237  PMID: 21861886
9.  Partnership for Implementation of Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices in Rural Federally Qualified Health Centers: Theory and Methods 
Background
Mental health and substance abuse are among the most commonly reported reasons for visits to Federally Qualified Health Centers (CHCs), yet only 6.5% of encounters are with on-site behavioral health specialists. Rural CHCs are significantly less likely to have on-site behavioral specialists than urban CHCs. Due to this lack of mental health specialists in rural areas, the most promising approach to improving mental health outcomes is to help rural primary care providers deliver evidence based practices (EBPs). Despite the scope of these problems, no research has developed an effective implementation strategy for facilitating the adoption of mental health EBPs for rural CHCs.
Objectives
To describe the conceptual components of an Implementation Partnership that focuses on the adaption and adoption of mental health EBPs by rural CHCs in Arkansas.
Methods
We present a conceptual model that integrates seven separate frameworks: 1) Jones and Wells’ Evidence-Based Community Partnership Model, 2) Kitson’s Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARiHS) implementation framework, 3) Sackett’s definition of evidence-based medicine, 4) Glisson’s organizational social context model, 5) Rubenstein’s Evidence-Based Quality Improvement (EBQI) facilitation process, 6) Glasgow’s RE-AIM evaluation approach, and 7) Naylor’s concept of shared decision making.
Conclusions
By integrating these frameworks into a meaningful conceptual model, we hope to develop a successful Implementation Partnership between an academic health center and small rural CHCs to improve mental health outcomes. Findings from this Implementation Partnership should have relevance to hundreds of clinics and millions of patients, and could help promote the sustained adoption of EBPs across rural America.
doi:10.1353/cpr.2012.0039
PMCID: PMC3702033  PMID: 22982852
Implementation; CBPR; FQHCs; Rural; Quality improvement
10.  Knowledge translation in Uganda: a qualitative study of Ugandan midwives’ and managers’ perceived relevance of the sub-elements of the context cornerstone in the PARIHS framework 
Background
A large proportion of the annual 3.3 million neonatal deaths could be averted if there was a high uptake of basic evidence-based practices. In order to overcome this ‘know-do’ gap, there is an urgent need for in-depth understanding of knowledge translation (KT). A major factor to consider in the successful translation of knowledge into practice is the influence of organizational context. A theoretical framework highlighting this process is Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS). However, research linked to this framework has almost exclusively been conducted in high-income countries. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the perceived relevance of the sub-elements of the organizational context cornerstone of the PARIHS framework, and also whether other factors in the organizational context were perceived to influence KT in a specific low-income setting.
Methods
This qualitative study was conducted in a district of Uganda, where focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews were conducted with midwives (n = 18) and managers (n = 5) within the catchment area of the general hospital. The interview guide was developed based on the context sub-elements in the PARIHS framework (receptive context, culture, leadership, and evaluation). Interviews were transcribed verbatim, followed by directed content analysis of the data.
Results
The sub-elements of organizational context in the PARIHS framework—i.e., receptive context, culture, leadership, and evaluation—also appear to be relevant in a low-income setting like Uganda, but there are additional factors to consider. Access to resources, commitment and informal payment, and community involvement were all perceived to play important roles for successful KT.
Conclusions
In further development of the context assessment tool, assessing factors for successful implementation of evidence in low-income settings—resources, community involvement, and commitment and informal payment—should be considered for inclusion. For low-income settings, resources are of significant importance, and might be considered as a separate sub-element of the PARIHS framework as a whole.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-117
PMCID: PMC3538529  PMID: 23206670
Organizational context; PARIHS; Knowledge translation; Low-income settings; Focus group discussions; Interviews
11.  Process evaluation of appreciative inquiry to translate pain management evidence into pediatric nursing practice 
Background
Appreciative inquiry (AI) is an innovative knowledge translation (KT) intervention that is compatible with the Promoting Action on Research in Health Services (PARiHS) framework. This study explored the innovative use of AI as a theoretically based KT intervention applied to a clinical issue in an inpatient pediatric care setting. The implementation of AI was explored in terms of its acceptability, fidelity, and feasibility as a KT intervention in pain management.
Methods
A mixed-methods case study design was used. The case was a surgical unit in a pediatric academic-affiliated hospital. The sample consisted of nurses in leadership positions and staff nurses interested in the study. Data on the AI intervention implementation were collected by digitally recording the AI sessions, maintaining logs, and conducting individual semistructured interviews. Data were analysed using qualitative and quantitative content analyses and descriptive statistics. Findings were triangulated in the discussion.
Results
Three nurse leaders and nine staff members participated in the study. Participants were generally satisfied with the intervention, which consisted of four 3-hour, interactive AI sessions delivered over two weeks to promote change based on positive examples of pain management in the unit and staff implementation of an action plan. The AI sessions were delivered with high fidelity and 11 of 12 participants attended all four sessions, where they developed an action plan to enhance evidence-based pain assessment documentation. Participants labeled AI a 'refreshing approach to change' because it was positive, democratic, and built on existing practices. Several barriers affected their implementation of the action plan, including a context of change overload, logistics, busyness, and a lack of organised follow-up.
Conclusions
Results of this case study supported the acceptability, fidelity, and feasibility of AI as a KT intervention in pain management. The AI intervention requires minor refinements (e.g., incorporating continued follow-up meetings) to enhance its clinical utility and sustainability. The implementation process and effectiveness of the modified AI intervention require evaluation in a larger multisite study.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-90
PMCID: PMC3000375  PMID: 21092118
12.  Development of a Management Algorithm for Post-operative Pain (MAPP) after total knee and total hip replacement: study rationale and design 
Background
Evidence from clinical practice and the extant literature suggests that post-operative pain assessment and treatment is often suboptimal. Poor pain management is likely to persist until pain management practices become consistent with guidelines developed from the best available scientific evidence. This work will address the priority in healthcare of improving the quality of pain management by standardising evidence-based care processes through the incorporation of an algorithm derived from best evidence into clinical practice. In this paper, the methodology for the creation and implementation of such an algorithm that will focus, in the first instance, on patients who have undergone total hip or knee replacement is described.
Methods
In partnership with clinicians, and based on best available evidence, the aim of the Management Algorithm for Post-operative Pain (MAPP) project is to develop, implement, and evaluate an algorithm designed to support pain management decision-making for patients after orthopaedic surgery. The algorithm will provide guidance for the prescription and administration of multimodal analgesics in the post-operative period, and the treatment of breakthrough pain. The MAPP project is a multisite study with one coordinating hospital and two supporting (rollout) hospitals. The design of this project is a pre-implementation-post-implementation evaluation and will be conducted over three phases. The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARiHS) framework will be used to guide implementation. Outcome measurements will be taken 10 weeks post-implementation of the MAPP. The primary outcomes are: proportion of patients prescribed multimodal analgesics in accordance with the MAPP; and proportion of patients with moderate to severe pain intensity at rest. These data will be compared to the pre-implementation analgesic prescribing practices and pain outcome measures. A secondary outcome, the efficacy of the MAPP, will be measured by comparing pain intensity scores of patients where the MAPP guidelines were or were not followed.
Discussion
The outcomes of this study have relevance for nursing and medical professionals as well as informing health service evaluation. In establishing a framework for the sustainable implementation and evaluation of a standardised approach to post-operative pain management, the findings have implications for clinicians and patients within multiple surgical contexts.
doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0110-3
PMCID: PMC4164760  PMID: 25164125
Pain; Pain management; Post-operative pain; Algorithm; Orthopaedic; Evidence-based practice; Clinical decision making; Implementation
13.  Accessibility and implementation in UK services of an effective depression relapse prevention programme – mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT): ASPIRE study protocol 
Background
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a cost-effective psychosocial prevention programme that helps people with recurrent depression stay well in the long term. It was singled out in the 2009 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Depression Guideline as a key priority for implementation. Despite good evidence and guideline recommendations, its roll-out and accessibility across the UK appears to be limited and inequitably distributed. The study aims to describe the current state of MBCT accessibility and implementation across the UK, develop an explanatory framework of what is hindering and facilitating its progress in different areas, and develop an Implementation Plan and related resources to promote better and more equitable availability and use of MBCT within the UK National Health Service.
Methods/Design
This project is a two-phase qualitative, exploratory and explanatory research study, using an interview survey and in-depth case studies theoretically underpinned by the Promoting Action on Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) framework. Interviews will be conducted with stakeholders involved in commissioning, managing and implementing MBCT services in each of the four UK countries, and will include areas where MBCT services are being implemented successfully and where implementation is not working well. In-depth case studies will be undertaken on a range of MBCT services to develop a detailed understanding of the barriers and facilitators to implementation. Guided by the study’s conceptual framework, data will be synthesized across Phase 1 and Phase 2 to develop a fit for purpose implementation plan.
Discussion
Promoting the uptake of evidence-based treatments into routine practice and understanding what influences these processes has the potential to support the adoption and spread of nationally recommended interventions like MBCT. This study could inform a larger scale implementation trial and feed into future implementation of MBCT with other long-term conditions and associated co-morbidities. It could also inform the implementation of interventions that are acceptable and effective, but are not widely accessible or implemented.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-9-62
PMCID: PMC4036706  PMID: 24884603
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT); Depression; Mental health; Implementation; Qualitative research; PARIHS framework; NICE guidelines; NHS
14.  Knowledge translation within a population health study: how do you do it? 
Background
Despite the considerable and growing body of knowledge translation (KT) literature, there are few methodologies sufficiently detailed to guide an integrated KT research approach for a population health study. This paper argues for a clearly articulated collaborative KT approach to be embedded within the research design from the outset.
Discussion
Population health studies are complex in their own right, and strategies to engage the local community in adopting new interventions are often fraught with considerable challenges. In order to maximise the impact of population health research, more explicit KT strategies need to be developed from the outset. We present four propositions, arising from our work in developing a KT framework for a population health study. These cover the need for an explicit theory-informed conceptual framework; formalizing collaborative approaches within the design; making explicit the roles of both the stakeholders and the researchers; and clarifying what counts as evidence. From our deliberations on these propositions, our own co-creating (co-KT) Framework emerged in which KT is defined as both a theoretical and practical framework for actioning the intent of researchers and communities to co-create, refine, implement and evaluate the impact of new knowledge that is sensitive to the context (values, norms and tacit knowledge) where it is generated and used. The co-KT Framework has five steps. These include initial contact and framing the issue; refining and testing knowledge; interpreting, contextualising and adapting knowledge to the local context; implementing and evaluating; and finally, the embedding and translating of new knowledge into practice.
Summary
Although descriptions of how to incorporate KT into research designs are increasing, current theoretical and operational frameworks do not generally span a holistic process from knowledge co-creation to knowledge application and implementation within one project. Population health studies may have greater health impact when KT is incorporated early and explicitly into the research design. This, we argue, will require that particular attention be paid to collaborative approaches, stakeholder identification and engagement, the nature and sources of evidence used, and the role of the research team working with the local study community.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-54
PMCID: PMC3674953  PMID: 23694753
Knowledge translation; Population health; Engaged scholarship; co-KT Framework; Health system redesign
15.  Embedding effective depression care: using theory for primary care organisational and systems change 
Background
Depression and related disorders represent a significant part of general practitioners (GPs) daily work. Implementing the evidence about what works for depression care into routine practice presents a challenge for researchers and service designers. The emerging consensus is that the transfer of efficacious interventions into routine practice is strongly linked to how well the interventions are based upon theory and take into account the contextual factors of the setting into which they are to be transferred. We set out to develop a conceptual framework to guide change and the implementation of best practice depression care in the primary care setting.
Methods
We used a mixed method, observational approach to gather data about routine depression care in a range of primary care settings via: audit of electronic health records; observation of routine clinical care; and structured, facilitated whole of organisation meetings. Audit data were summarised using simple descriptive statistics. Observational data were collected using field notes. Organisational meetings were audio taped and transcribed. All the data sets were grouped, by organisation, and considered as a whole case. Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) was identified as an analytical theory to guide the conceptual framework development.
Results
Five privately owned primary care organisations (general practices) and one community health centre took part over the course of 18 months. We successfully developed a conceptual framework for implementing an effective model of depression care based on the four constructs of NPT: coherence, which proposes that depression work requires the conceptualisation of boundaries of who is depressed and who is not depressed and techniques for dealing with diffuseness; cognitive participation, which proposes that depression work requires engagement with a shared set of techniques that deal with depression as a health problem; collective action, which proposes that agreement is reached about how care is organised; and reflexive monitoring, which proposes that depression work requires agreement about how depression work will be monitored at the patient and practice level. We describe how these constructs can be used to guide the design and implementation of effective depression care in a way that can take account of contextual differences.
Conclusions
Ideas about what is required for an effective model and system of depression care in primary care need to be accompanied by theoretically informed frameworks that consider how these can be implemented. The conceptual framework we have presented can be used to guide organisational and system change to develop common language around each construct between policy makers, service users, professionals, and researchers. This shared understanding across groups is fundamental to the effective implementation of change in primary care for depression.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-62
PMCID: PMC2925331  PMID: 20687962
16.  Organizational readiness to change assessment (ORCA): Development of an instrument based on the Promoting Action on Research in Health Services (PARIHS) framework 
Background
The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services, or PARIHS, framework is a theoretical framework widely promoted as a guide to implement evidence-based clinical practices. However, it has as yet no pool of validated measurement instruments that operationalize the constructs defined in the framework. The present article introduces an Organizational Readiness to Change Assessment instrument (ORCA), organized according to the core elements and sub-elements of the PARIHS framework, and reports on initial validation.
Methods
We conducted scale reliability and factor analyses on cross-sectional, secondary data from three quality improvement projects (n = 80) conducted in the Veterans Health Administration. In each project, identical 77-item ORCA instruments were administered to one or more staff from each facility involved in quality improvement projects. Items were organized into 19 subscales and three primary scales corresponding to the core elements of the PARIHS framework: (1) Strength and extent of evidence for the clinical practice changes represented by the QI program, assessed with four subscales, (2) Quality of the organizational context for the QI program, assessed with six subscales, and (3) Capacity for internal facilitation of the QI program, assessed with nine subscales.
Results
Cronbach's alpha for scale reliability were 0.74, 0.85 and 0.95 for the evidence, context and facilitation scales, respectively. The evidence scale and its three constituent subscales failed to meet the conventional threshold of 0.80 for reliability, and three individual items were eliminated from evidence subscales following reliability testing. In exploratory factor analysis, three factors were retained. Seven of the nine facilitation subscales loaded onto the first factor; five of the six context subscales loaded onto the second factor; and the three evidence subscales loaded on the third factor. Two subscales failed to load significantly on any factor. One measured resources in general (from the context scale), and one clinical champion role (from the facilitation scale).
Conclusion
We find general support for the reliability and factor structure of the ORCA. However, there was poor reliability among measures of evidence, and factor analysis results for measures of general resources and clinical champion role did not conform to the PARIHS framework. Additional validation is needed, including criterion validation.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-38
PMCID: PMC2716295  PMID: 19594942
17.  FIRE (facilitating implementation of research evidence): a study protocol 
Background
Research evidence underpins best practice, but is not always used in healthcare. The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) framework suggests that the nature of evidence, the context in which it is used, and whether those trying to use evidence are helped (or facilitated) affect the use of evidence. Urinary incontinence has a major effect on quality of life of older people, has a high prevalence, and is a key priority within European health and social care policy. Improving continence care has the potential to improve the quality of life for older people and reduce the costs associated with providing incontinence aids.
Objectives
This study aims to advance understanding about the contribution facilitation can make to implementing research findings into practice via: extending current knowledge of facilitation as a process for translating research evidence into practice; evaluating the feasibility, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of two different models of facilitation in promoting the uptake of research evidence on continence management; assessing the impact of contextual factors on the processes and outcomes of implementation; and implementing a pro-active knowledge transfer and dissemination strategy to diffuse study findings to a wide policy and practice community.
Setting and sample
Four European countries, each with six long-term nursing care sites (total 24 sites) for people aged 60 years and over with documented urinary incontinence
Methods and design
Pragmatic randomised controlled trial with three arms (standard dissemination and two different programmes of facilitation), with embedded process and economic evaluation. The primary outcome is compliance with the continence recommendations. Secondary outcomes include proportion of residents with incontinence, incidence of incontinence-related dermatitis, urinary tract infections, and quality of life. Outcomes are assessed at baseline, then at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after the start of the facilitation interventions. Detailed contextual and process data are collected throughout, using interviews with staff, residents and next of kin, observations, assessment of context using the Alberta Context Tool, and documentary evidence. A realistic evaluation framework is used to develop explanatory theory about what works for whom in what circumstances.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN11598502.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-25
PMCID: PMC3356232  PMID: 22453077
18.  Implementing health research through academic and clinical partnerships: a realistic evaluation of the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) 
Background
The English National Health Service has made a major investment in nine partnerships between higher education institutions and local health services called Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC). They have been funded to increase capacity and capability to produce and implement research through sustained interactions between academics and health services. CLAHRCs provide a natural 'test bed' for exploring questions about research implementation within a partnership model of delivery. This protocol describes an externally funded evaluation that focuses on implementation mechanisms and processes within three CLAHRCs. It seeks to uncover what works, for whom, how, and in what circumstances.
Design and methods
This study is a longitudinal three-phase, multi-method realistic evaluation, which deliberately aims to explore the boundaries around knowledge use in context. The evaluation funder wishes to see it conducted for the process of learning, not for judging performance. The study is underpinned by a conceptual framework that combines the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services and Knowledge to Action frameworks to reflect the complexities of implementation. Three participating CLARHCS will provide in-depth comparative case studies of research implementation using multiple data collection methods including interviews, observation, documents, and publicly available data to test and refine hypotheses over four rounds of data collection. We will test the wider applicability of emerging findings with a wider community using an interpretative forum.
Discussion
The idea that collaboration between academics and services might lead to more applicable health research that is actually used in practice is theoretically and intuitively appealing; however the evidence for it is limited. Our evaluation is designed to capture the processes and impacts of collaborative approaches for implementing research, and therefore should contribute to the evidence base about an increasingly popular (e.g., Mode two, integrated knowledge transfer, interactive research), but poorly understood approach to knowledge translation. Additionally we hope to develop approaches for evaluating implementation processes and impacts particularly with respect to integrated stakeholder involvement.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-74
PMCID: PMC3168414  PMID: 21771329
19.  A Holistic Framework to Improve the Uptake and Impact of eHealth Technologies 
Background
Many eHealth technologies are not successful in realizing sustainable innovations in health care practices. One of the reasons for this is that the current development of eHealth technology often disregards the interdependencies between technology, human characteristics, and the socioeconomic environment, resulting in technology that has a low impact in health care practices. To overcome the hurdles with eHealth design and implementation, a new, holistic approach to the development of eHealth technologies is needed, one that takes into account the complexity of health care and the rituals and habits of patients and other stakeholders.
Objective
The aim of this viewpoint paper is to improve the uptake and impact of eHealth technologies by advocating a holistic approach toward their development and eventual integration in the health sector.
Methods
To identify the potential and limitations of current eHealth frameworks (1999–2009), we carried out a literature search in the following electronic databases: PubMed, ScienceDirect, Web of Knowledge, PiCarta, and Google Scholar. Of the 60 papers that were identified, 44 were selected for full review. We excluded those papers that did not describe hands-on guidelines or quality criteria for the design, implementation, and evaluation of eHealth technologies (28 papers). From the results retrieved, we identified 16 eHealth frameworks that matched the inclusion criteria. The outcomes were used to posit strategies and principles for a holistic approach toward the development of eHealth technologies; these principles underpin our holistic eHealth framework.
Results
A total of 16 frameworks qualified for a final analysis, based on their theoretical backgrounds and visions on eHealth, and the strategies and conditions for the research and development of eHealth technologies. Despite their potential, the relationship between the visions on eHealth, proposed strategies, and research methods is obscure, perhaps due to a rather conceptual approach that focuses on the rationale behind the frameworks rather than on practical guidelines. In addition, the Web 2.0 technologies that call for a more stakeholder-driven approach are beyond the scope of current frameworks. To overcome these limitations, we composed a holistic framework based on a participatory development approach, persuasive design techniques, and business modeling.
Conclusions
To demonstrate the impact of eHealth technologies more effectively, a fresh way of thinking is required about how technology can be used to innovate health care. It also requires new concepts and instruments to develop and implement technologies in practice. The proposed framework serves as an evidence-based roadmap.
doi:10.2196/jmir.1672
PMCID: PMC3278097  PMID: 22155738
eHealth; design; participation; implementation; evaluation; multidisciplinary approach; Health 2.0; Wiki; e-collaboration
20.  Disseminating research findings: what should researchers do? A systematic scoping review of conceptual frameworks 
Background
Addressing deficiencies in the dissemination and transfer of research-based knowledge into routine clinical practice is high on the policy agenda both in the UK and internationally.
However, there is lack of clarity between funding agencies as to what represents dissemination. Moreover, the expectations and guidance provided to researchers vary from one agency to another. Against this background, we performed a systematic scoping to identify and describe any conceptual/organising frameworks that could be used by researchers to guide their dissemination activity.
Methods
We searched twelve electronic databases (including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO), the reference lists of included studies and of individual funding agency websites to identify potential studies for inclusion. To be included, papers had to present an explicit framework or plan either designed for use by researchers or that could be used to guide dissemination activity. Papers which mentioned dissemination (but did not provide any detail) in the context of a wider knowledge translation framework, were excluded. References were screened independently by at least two reviewers; disagreements were resolved by discussion. For each included paper, the source, the date of publication, a description of the main elements of the framework, and whether there was any implicit/explicit reference to theory were extracted. A narrative synthesis was undertaken.
Results
Thirty-three frameworks met our inclusion criteria, 20 of which were designed to be used by researchers to guide their dissemination activities. Twenty-eight included frameworks were underpinned at least in part by one or more of three different theoretical approaches, namely persuasive communication, diffusion of innovations theory, and social marketing.
Conclusions
There are currently a number of theoretically-informed frameworks available to researchers that can be used to help guide their dissemination planning and activity. Given the current emphasis on enhancing the uptake of knowledge about the effects of interventions into routine practice, funders could consider encouraging researchers to adopt a theoretically-informed approach to their research dissemination.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-91
PMCID: PMC2994786  PMID: 21092164
21.  Organizational readiness for knowledge translation in chronic care: a review of theoretical components 
Background
With the persistent gaps between research and practice in healthcare systems, knowledge translation (KT) has gained significance and importance. Also, in most industrialized countries, there is an increasing emphasis on managing chronic health conditions with the best available evidence. Yet, organizations aiming to improve chronic care (CC) require an adequate level of organizational readiness (OR) for KT.
Objectives: The purpose of this study is to review and synthesize the existing evidence on conceptual models/frameworks of Organizational Readiness for Change (ORC) in healthcare as the basis for the development of a comprehensive framework of OR for KT in the context of CC.
Data sources
We conducted a systematic review of the literature on OR for KT in CC using Pubmed, Embase, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Web of Sciences (SCI and SSCI), and others. Search terms included readiness; commitment and change; preparedness; willing to change; organization and administration; and health and social services.
Study selection: The search was limited to studies that had been published between the starting date of each bibliographic database (e.g., 1964 for PubMed) and November 1, 2012. Only papers that refer to a theory, a theoretical component from any framework or model on OR that were applicable to the healthcare domain were considered. We analyzed data using conceptual mapping.
Data extraction: Pairs of authors independently screened the published literature by reviewing their titles and abstracts. Then, the two same reviewers appraised the full text of each study independently.
Results
Overall, we found and synthesized 10 theories, theoretical models and conceptual frameworks relevant to ORC in healthcare described in 38 publications. We identified five core concepts, namely organizational dynamics, change process, innovation readiness, institutional readiness, and personal readiness. We extracted 17 dimensions and 59 sub-dimensions related to these 5 concepts.
Conclusion
Our findings provide a useful overview for researchers interested in ORC and aims to create a consensus on the core theoretical components of ORC in general and of OR for KT in CC in particular. However, more work is needed to define and validate the core elements of a framework that could help to assess OR for KT in CC.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-138
PMCID: PMC4222028  PMID: 24283365
Organizational readiness; Conceptual models; Frameworks; Knowledge translation; Chronic care; Healthcare system
22.  An implementation-focused process evaluation of an incentive intervention effectiveness trial in substance use disorders clinics at two Veterans Health Administration medical centers 
Background
One of the pressing concerns in health care today is the slow rate at which promising interventions, supported by research evidence, move into clinical practice. One potential way to speed this process is to conduct hybrid studies that simultaneously combine the collection of effectiveness and implementation relevant data. This paper presents implementation relevant data collected during a randomized effectiveness trial of an abstinence incentive intervention conducted in substance use disorders treatment clinics at two Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical centers.
Methods
Participants included patients entering substance use disorders treatment with diagnoses of alcohol dependence and/or stimulant dependence that enrolled in the randomized trial, were assigned to the intervention arm, and completed a post intervention survey (n = 147). All staff and leadership from the participating clinics were eligible to participate. A descriptive process evaluation was used, focused on participant perceptions and contextual/feasibility issues. Data collection was guided by the RE-AIM and PARIHS implementation frameworks. Data collection methods included chart review, intervention cost tracking, patient and staff surveys, and qualitative interviews with staff and administrators.
Results
Results indicated that patients, staff and administrators held generally positive attitudes toward the incentive intervention. However, staff and administrators identified substantial barriers to routine implementation. Despite the documented low cost and modest staff time required for implementation of the intervention, securing funding for the incentives and freeing up any staff time for intervention administration were identified as primary barriers.
Conclusions
Recommendations to facilitate implementation are presented. Recommendations include: 1) solicit explicit support from the highest levels of the organization through, for example, performance measures or clinical practice guideline recommendations; 2) adopt the intervention incrementally starting within a specific treatment track or clinic to reduce staff and funding burden until local evidence of effectiveness and feasibility is available to support spread; and 3) educate staff about the process, goals, and value/effectiveness of the intervention and engage them in implementation planning from the start to enhance investment in the intervention.
doi:10.1186/1940-0640-9-12
PMCID: PMC4106217  PMID: 25008457
Substance use disorders treatment; Abstinence incentive intervention; Implementation; Process evaluation; Hybrid design
23.  Fostering implementation of health services research findings into practice: a consolidated framework for advancing implementation science 
Background
Many interventions found to be effective in health services research studies fail to translate into meaningful patient care outcomes across multiple contexts. Health services researchers recognize the need to evaluate not only summative outcomes but also formative outcomes to assess the extent to which implementation is effective in a specific setting, prolongs sustainability, and promotes dissemination into other settings. Many implementation theories have been published to help promote effective implementation. However, they overlap considerably in the constructs included in individual theories, and a comparison of theories reveals that each is missing important constructs included in other theories. In addition, terminology and definitions are not consistent across theories. We describe the Consolidated Framework For Implementation Research (CFIR) that offers an overarching typology to promote implementation theory development and verification about what works where and why across multiple contexts.
Methods
We used a snowball sampling approach to identify published theories that were evaluated to identify constructs based on strength of conceptual or empirical support for influence on implementation, consistency in definitions, alignment with our own findings, and potential for measurement. We combined constructs across published theories that had different labels but were redundant or overlapping in definition, and we parsed apart constructs that conflated underlying concepts.
Results
The CFIR is composed of five major domains: intervention characteristics, outer setting, inner setting, characteristics of the individuals involved, and the process of implementation. Eight constructs were identified related to the intervention (e.g., evidence strength and quality), four constructs were identified related to outer setting (e.g., patient needs and resources), 12 constructs were identified related to inner setting (e.g., culture, leadership engagement), five constructs were identified related to individual characteristics, and eight constructs were identified related to process (e.g., plan, evaluate, and reflect). We present explicit definitions for each construct.
Conclusion
The CFIR provides a pragmatic structure for approaching complex, interacting, multi-level, and transient states of constructs in the real world by embracing, consolidating, and unifying key constructs from published implementation theories. It can be used to guide formative evaluations and build the implementation knowledge base across multiple studies and settings.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-50
PMCID: PMC2736161  PMID: 19664226
24.  Developing a framework for transferring knowledge into action: a thematic analysis of the literature 
Objectives
Although there is widespread agreement about the importance of transferring knowledge into action, we still lack high quality information about what works, in which settings and with whom. Whilst there are a large number of models and theories for knowledge transfer interventions, they are untested meaning that their applicability and relevance is largely unknown. This paper describes the development of a conceptual framework of translating knowledge into action and discusses how it can be used for developing a useful model of the knowledge transfer process.
Methods
A narrative review of the knowledge transfer literature identified 28 different models which explained all or part of the knowledge transfer process. The models were subjected to a thematic analysis to identify individual components and the types of processes used when transferring knowledge into action. The results were used to build a conceptual framework of the process.
Results
Five common components of the knowledge transfer process were identified: problem identification and communication; knowledge/research development and selection; analysis of context; knowledge transfer activities or interventions; and knowledge/research utilization. We also identified three types of knowledge transfer processes: a linear process; a cyclical process; and a dynamic multidirectional process. From these results a conceptual framework of knowledge transfer was developed. The framework illustrates the five common components of the knowledge transfer process and shows that they are connected via a complex, multidirectional set of interactions. As such the framework allows for the individual components to occur simultaneously or in any given order and to occur more than once during the knowledge transfer process.
Conclusion
Our framework provides a foundation for gathering evidence from case studies of knowledge transfer interventions. We propose that future empirical work is designed to test and refine the relevant importance and applicability of each of the components in order to build more useful models of knowledge transfer which can serve as a practical checklist for planning or evaluating knowledge transfer activities.
doi:10.1258/jhsrp.2009.008120
PMCID: PMC2933505  PMID: 19541874
25.  Increasing User Involvement in Health Care and Health Research Simultaneously: A Proto-Protocol for "Person-as-Researcher" and Online Decision Support Tools 
JMIR Research Protocols  2014;3(4):e61.
Background
User involvement is appearing increasingly on policy agendas in many countries, with a variety of proposals for facilitating it. The belief is that it will produce better health for individuals and community, as well as demonstrate greater respect for the basic principles of autonomy and democracy.
Objective
Our Web-based project aims to increase involvement in health care and health research and is presented in the form of an umbrella protocol for a set of project-specific protocols. We conceptualize the person as a researcher engaged in a continual, living, informal “n-of-1”-type study of the effects of different actions and interventions on their health, including those implying contact with health care services. We see their research as primarily carried out in order to make better decisions for themselves, but they can offer to contribute the results to the wider population. We see the efforts of the "person-as-researcher" as contributing to the total amount of research undertaken in the community, with research not being confined to that undertaken by professional researchers and institutions. This view is fundamentally compatible with both the emancipatory and conventional approaches to increased user involvement, though somewhat more aligned with the former.
Methods
Our online decision support tools, delivered directly to the person in the community and openly accessible, are to be seen as research resources. They will take the form of interactive decision aids for a variety of specific health conditions, as well as a generic one that supports all health and health care decisions through its focus on key aspects of decision quality. We present a high-level protocol for the condition-specific studies that will implement our approach, organized within the Populations, Interventions, Comparators, Outcomes, Timings, and Settings (PICOTS) framework.
Results
Our underlying hypothesis concerns the person-as-researcher who is equipped with a prescriptive, transparent, expected value-based opinion—an opinion that combines their criterion importance weights with the Best Estimates Available Now for how well each of the available options performs on each of those outcomes. The hypothesis is that this person-as-researcher is more likely to be able to position themselves as an active participant in a clinical encounter, if they wish, than someone who has engaged with a descriptive decision aid that attempts to work with their existing cognitive processes and stresses the importance of information. The precise way this is hypothesis tested will be setting-specific and condition-specific and will be spelled out in the individual project protocols.
Conclusions
Decision resources that provide fast access to the results of slower thinking can provide the stimulus that many individuals need to take a more involved role in their own health. Our project, advanced simply as one approach to increased user involvement, is designed to make progress in the short term with minimal resources and to do so at the point of decision need, when motivation is highest. Some basic distinctions, such as those between science and non-science, research and practice, community and individual, and lay and professional become somewhat blurred and may need to be rethought in light of this approach.
doi:10.2196/resprot.3690
PMCID: PMC4260062  PMID: 25424354
user involvement; decision support; patient empowerment; Internet

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