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1.  Clinical interventions, implementation interventions, and the potential greyness in between -a discussion paper 
There is increasing awareness that regardless of the proven value of clinical interventions, the use of effective strategies to implement such interventions into clinical practice is necessary to ensure that patients receive the benefits. However, there is often confusion between what is the clinical intervention and what is the implementation intervention. This may be caused by a lack of conceptual clarity between ‘intervention’ and ‘implementation’, yet at other times by ambiguity in application. We suggest that both the scientific and the clinical communities would benefit from greater clarity; therefore, in this paper, we address the concepts of intervention and implementation, primarily as in clinical interventions and implementation interventions, and explore the grey area in between.
To begin, we consider the similarities, differences and potential greyness between clinical interventions and implementation interventions through an overview of concepts. This is illustrated with reference to two examples of clinical interventions and implementation intervention studies, including the potential ambiguity in between. We then discuss strategies to explore the hybridity of clinical-implementation intervention studies, including the role of theories, frameworks, models, and reporting guidelines that can be applied to help clarify the clinical and implementation intervention, respectively.
Semantics provide opportunities for improved precision in depicting what is ‘intervention’ and what is ‘implementation’ in health care research. Further, attention to study design, the use of theory, and adoption of reporting guidelines can assist in distinguishing between the clinical intervention and the implementation intervention. However, certain aspects may remain unclear in analyses of hybrid studies of clinical and implementation interventions. Recognizing this potential greyness can inform further discourse.
PMCID: PMC5219812  PMID: 28061856
Concept; Implementation; Implementation Science; Intervention; Knowledge Translation
2.  Factors facilitating a national quality registry to aid clinical quality improvement: findings of a national survey 
BMJ Open  2016;6(11):e011562.
While national quality registries (NQRs) are suggested to provide opportunities for systematic follow-up and learning opportunities, and thus clinical improvements, features in registries and contexts triggering such processes are not fully known. This study focuses on one of the world's largest stroke registries, the Swedish NQR Riksstroke, investigating what aspects of the registry and healthcare organisations facilitate or hinder the use of registry data in clinical quality improvement.
Following particular qualitative studies, we performed a quantitative survey in an exploratory sequential design. The survey, including 50 items on context, processes and the registry, was sent to managers, physicians and nurses engaged in Riksstroke in all 72 Swedish stroke units. Altogether, 242 individuals were presented with the survey; 163 responded, representing all but two units. Data were analysed descriptively and through multiple linear regression.
A majority (88%) considered Riksstroke data to facilitate detection of stroke care improvement needs and acknowledged that their data motivated quality improvements (78%). The use of Riksstroke for quality improvement initiatives was associated (R2=0.76) with ‘Colleagues’ call for local results’ (p=<0.001), ‘Management Request of Registry data’ (p=<0.001), and it was said to be ‘Simple to explain the results to colleagues’ (p=0.02). Using stepwise regression, ‘Colleagues’ call for local results’ was identified as the most influential factor. Yet, while 73% reported that managers request registry data, only 39% reported that their colleagues call for the unit's Riksstroke results.
While an NQR like Riksstroke demonstrates improvement needs and motivates stakeholders to make progress, local stroke care staff and managers need to engage to keep the momentum going in terms of applying registry data when planning, performing and evaluating quality initiatives.
PMCID: PMC5128910
3.  Considering patient non‐participation in health care 
Objective  The aim of this study was to depict patient non‐participation as described by a diverse group with recent experiences of being patients.
Background  Patient participation is regarded as a primary condition for optimal quality of care, suggesting that non‐participation should be avoided. A common understanding of the concept of patient non‐participation is needed. A discrepancy in definitions of patient non‐participation has been found in health‐care interactions, health‐care classifications and health‐care research, and little is known of what patient non‐participation represents to patients.
Study design  A survey consisting of closed‐ended and open‐ended questions was administered to persons that had recently been patients to gather respondents’ descriptions of what they considered as patient non‐participation. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse free‐text descriptions, and descriptive statistics were used for the close‐ended alternatives.
Findings  Lacking information (e.g. not being provided with appropriate information) and lacking recognition (e.g. not being listened to and/or lacking recognition as an individual with individual needs and concerns) were significant aspects of patient non‐participation. Furthermore, non‐participation encompassed facing organization‐centred, as opposed to patient‐centred, health care as well as feeling insecure in health care interactions.
Conclusion  The findings provide input for a better understanding of what patients experience as non‐participation. Organising for the caregivers to be able to thoroughly listen to the patients’ illness narratives would easily reduce the risk of patient’s experiencing what is described as non‐participation and would provide a sound base for patient learning needs.
PMCID: PMC5060447  PMID: 18816322
concept analysis; non‐participation; patient participation
4.  Developing Leadership in Managers to Facilitate the Implementation of National Guideline Recommendations: A Process Evaluation of Feasibility and Usefulness 
Background: Previous research supports the claim that managers are vital players in the implementation of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs), yet little is known about interventions aiming to develop managers’ leadership in facilitating implementation. In this pilot study, process evaluation was employed to study the feasibility and usefulness of a leadership intervention by exploring the intervention’s potential to support managers in the implementation of national guideline recommendations for stroke care in outpatient rehabilitation.
Methods: Eleven senior and frontline managers from five outpatient stroke rehabilitation centers participated in a four-month leadership intervention that included workshops, seminars, and teleconferences. The focus was on developing knowledge and skills to enhance the implementation of CPG recommendations, with a particular focus on leadership behaviors. Each dyad of managers was assigned to develop a leadership plan with specific goals and leadership behaviors for implementing three rehabilitation recommendations. Feasibility and usefulness were explored through observations and interviews with the managers and staff members prior to the intervention, and then one month and one year after the intervention.
Results: Managers considered the intervention beneficial, particularly the participation of both senior and frontline managers and the focus on leadership knowledge and skills for implementing CPG recommendations. All the managers developed a leadership plan, but only two units identified goals specific to implementing the three stroke rehabilitation recommendations. Of these, only one identified leadership behaviors that support implementation.
Conclusion: Managers found that the intervention was delivered in a feasible way and appreciated the focus on leadership to facilitate implementation. However, the intervention appeared to have limited impact on managers’ behaviors or clinical practice at the units. Future interventions directed towards managers should have a stronger focus on developing leadership skills and behaviors to tailor implementation plans and support implementation of CPG recommendations.
PMCID: PMC4968251  PMID: 27694661
Evidence-Based Practice (EBP); Facilitation; Implementation; Leadership; Management; Stroke Rehabilitation
5.  Depicting the interplay between organisational tiers in the use of a national quality registry to develop quality of care in Sweden 
With a pending need to identify potential means to improved quality of care, national quality registries (NQRs) are identified as a promising route. Yet, there is limited evidence with regards to what hinders and facilitates the NQR innovation, what signifies the contexts in which NQRs are applied and drive quality improvement. Supposedly, barriers and facilitators to NQR-driven quality improvement may be found in the healthcare context, in the politico-administrative context, as well as with an NQR itself. In this study, we investigated the potential variation with regards to if and how an NQR was applied by decision-makers and users in regions and clinical settings. The aim was to depict the interplay between the clinical and the politico-administrative tiers in the use of NQRs to develop quality of care, examining an established registry on stroke care as a case study.
We interviewed 44 individuals representing the clinical and the politico-administrative settings of 4 out of 21 regions strategically chosen for including stroke units representing a variety of outcomes in the NQR on stroke (Riksstroke) and a variety of settings. The transcribed interviews were analysed by applying The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR).
In two regions, decision-makers and/or administrators had initiated healthcare process projects for stroke, engaging the health professionals in the local stroke units who contributed with, for example, local data from Riksstroke. The Riksstroke data was used for identifying improvement issues, for setting goals, and asserting that the stroke units achieved an equivalent standard of care and a certain level of quality of stroke care. Meanwhile, one region had more recently initiated such a project and the fourth region had no similar collaboration across tiers. Apart from these projects, there was limited joint communication across tiers and none that included all individuals and functions engaged in quality improvement with regards to stroke care.
If NQRs are to provide for quality improvement and learning opportunities, advances must be made in the links between the structures and processes across all organisational tiers, including decision-makers, administrators and health professionals engaged in a particular healthcare process.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12913-015-1188-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4660812  PMID: 26607344
Clinical database; National quality registry; Implementation; Quality improvement; Medical registry
6.  Assessing feasibility and acceptability of study procedures: getting ready for implementation of national stroke guidelines in out-patient health care 
Even though Swedish national guidelines for stroke care (SNGSC) have been accessible for nearly a decade access to stroke rehabilitation in out-patient health care vary considerably. In order to aid future interventions studies for implementation of SNGSC, this study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of study procedures including analysis of the context in out-patient health care settings.
The feasibility and acceptability of recruitment, observations and interviews with managers, staff and patients were assessed, as well as the feasibility of surveying health care records.
To identify patients from the the hospitals was feasible but not from out-patient care where a need to relieve clinical staff of the recruitment process was identified. Assessing adherence to guidelines and standardized evaluations of patient outcomes through health care records was found to be feasible and suitable assessment tools to evaluate patient outcome were identified. Interviews were found to be a feasible and acceptable tool to survey the context of the health care setting.
In this feasibility study a variety of qualitative and quantitative data collection procedures and measures were tested. The results indicate what can be used as a set of feasible and acceptable data collection procedures and suitable measures for studying implementation of stroke guidelines in an out-patient health care context.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12913-015-1177-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4657360  PMID: 26596624
Acceptability; Feasibility; Guidelines; Implementation; Stroke
7.  Exploring the influence of context in a community-based facilitation intervention focusing on neonatal health and survival in Vietnam: a qualitative study 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:814.
In the Neonatal health – Knowledge into Practice (NeoKIP) trial in Vietnam, local stakeholder groups, supported by trained laywomen acting as facilitators, promoted knowledge translation (KT) resulting in decreased neonatal mortality. In general, as well as in the community-based NeoKIP trial, there is a need to further understand how context influences KT interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Thus, the objective of this study was to explore the influence of context on the facilitation process in the NeoKIP intervention.
A secondary content analysis was performed on 16 Focus Group Discussions with facilitators and participants of the stakeholder groups, applying an inductive approach to the content on context through naïve understanding and structured analysis.
The three main-categories of context found to influence the facilitation process in the NeoKIP intervention were: (1) Support and collaboration of local authorities and other communal stakeholders; (2) Incentives to, and motivation of, participants; and (3) Low health care coverage and utilization. In particular, the role of local authorities in a KT intervention was recognized as important. Also, while project participants expected financial incentives, non-financial benefits such as individual learning were considered to balance the lack of reimbursement in the NeoKIP intervention. Further, project participants recognized the need to acknowledge the needs of disadvantaged groups.
This study provides insight for further understanding of the influence of contextual aspects to improve effects of a KT intervention in Vietnam. We suggest that future KT interventions should apply strategies to improve local authorities’ engagement, to identify and communicate non-financial incentives, and to make disadvantaged groups a priority. Further studies to evaluate the contextual aspects in KT interventions in LMICs are also needed.
PMCID: PMC4546163  PMID: 26297314
8.  How Single Is "Single" - Some Pragmatic Reflections on Single Versus Multifaceted Interventions to Facilitate Implementation 
An earlier overview of systematic reviews and a subsequent editorial on single-component versus multifaceted interventions to promote knowledge translation (KT) highlight complex issues in implementation science. In this supplemented commentary, further aspects are in focus; we propose examples from (KT) studies probing the issue of single interventions. A main point is that defining what is a single and what is a multifaceted intervention can be ambiguous, depending on how the intervention is conceived. Further, we suggest additional perspectives in terms of strategies to facilitate implementation. More specifically, we argue for a need to depict not only what activities are done in implementation interventions, but to unpack functions in particular contexts, in order to support the progress of implementation science.
PMCID: PMC4594114  PMID: 26673184
Facilitation; Implementation; Knowledge Translation (KT); Multifaceted Interventions; Single Interventions
9.  Local politico-administrative perspectives on quality improvement based on national registry data in Sweden: a qualitative study using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research 
Through a national policy agreement, over 167 million Euros will be invested in the Swedish National Quality Registries (NQRs) between 2012 and 2016. One of the policy agreement’s intentions is to increase the use of NQR data for quality improvement (QI). However, the evidence is fragmented as to how the use of medical registries and the like lead to quality improvement, and little is known about non-clinical use. The aim was therefore to investigate the perspectives of Swedish politicians and administrators on quality improvement based on national registry data.
Politicians and administrators from four county councils were interviewed. A qualitative content analysis guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) was performed.
The politicians’ and administrators’ perspectives on the use of NQR data for quality improvement were mainly assigned to three of the five CFIR domains. In the domain of intervention characteristics, data reliability and access in reasonable time were not considered entirely satisfactory, making it difficult for the politico-administrative leaderships to initiate, monitor, and support timely QI efforts. Still, politicians and administrators trusted the idea of using the NQRs as a base for quality improvement. In the domain of inner setting, the organizational structures were not sufficiently developed to utilize the advantages of the NQRs, and readiness for implementation appeared to be inadequate for two reasons. Firstly, the resources for data analysis and quality improvement were not considered sufficient at politico-administrative or clinical level. Secondly, deficiencies in leadership engagement at multiple levels were described and there was a lack of consensus on the politicians’ role and level of involvement. Regarding the domain of outer setting, there was a lack of communication and cooperation between the county councils and the national NQR organizations.
The Swedish experiences show that a government-supported national system of well-funded, well-managed, and reputable national quality registries needs favorable local politico-administrative conditions to be used for quality improvement; such conditions are not yet in place according to local politicians and administrators.
PMCID: PMC4307376  PMID: 25544124
Quality registry; Clinical database; Clinical registry; Implementation; Quality improvement; Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research
10.  Facilitators and barriers to applying a national quality registry for quality improvement in stroke care 
National quality registries (NQRs) purportedly facilitate quality improvement, while neither the extent nor the mechanisms of such a relationship are fully known. The aim of this case study is to describe the experiences of local stakeholders to determine those elements that facilitate and hinder clinical quality improvement in relation to participation in a well-known and established NQR on stroke in Sweden.
A strategic sample was drawn of 8 hospitals in 4 county councils, representing a variety of settings and outcomes according to the NQR’s criteria. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 25 managers, physicians in charge of the Riks-Stroke, and registered nurses registering local data at the hospitals. Interviews, including aspects of barriers and facilitators within the NQR and the local context, were analysed with content analysis.
An NQR can provide vital aspects for facilitating evidence-based practice, for example, local data drawn from national guidelines which can be used for comparisons over time within the organisation or with other hospitals. Major effort is required to ensure that data entries are accurate and valid, and thus the trustworthiness of local data output competes with resources needed for everyday clinical stroke care and quality improvement initiatives. Local stakeholders with knowledge of and interest in both the medical area (in this case stroke) and quality improvement can apply the NQR data to effectively initiate, carry out, and evaluate quality improvement, if supported by managers and co-workers, a common stroke care process and an operational management system that embraces and engages with the NQR data.
While quality registries are assumed to support adherence to evidence-based guidelines around the world, this study proposes that a NQR can facilitate improvement of care but neither the registry itself nor the reporting of data initiates quality improvement. Rather, the local and general evidence provided by the NQR must be considered relevant and must be applied in the local context. Further, the quality improvement process needs to be facilitated by stakeholders collaborating within and outside the context, who know how to initiate, perform, and evaluate quality improvement, and who have the resources to do so.
PMCID: PMC4153899  PMID: 25158882
Evidence based practice; Facilitation; National quality registry; Quality improvement
11.  Lessons learned from stakeholders in a facilitation intervention targeting neonatal health in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam 
In northern Vietnam the Neonatal health - Knowledge Into Practice (NeoKIP, Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN44599712) trial has evaluated facilitation as a knowledge translation intervention to improve neonatal survival. The results demonstrated that intervention sites, each having an assigned group including local stakeholders supported by a facilitator, lowered the neonatal mortality rate by 50% during the last intervention year compared with control sites. This process evaluation was conducted to identify and describe mechanisms of the NeoKIP intervention based on experiences of facilitators and intervention group members.
Four focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with all facilitators at different occasions and 12 FGDs with 6 intervention groups at 2 occasions. Fifteen FGDs were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, translated into English, and analysed using thematic analysis.
Four themes and 17 sub-themes emerged from the 3 FGDs with facilitators, and 5 themes and 18 sub-themes were identified from the 12 FGDs with the intervention groups mirroring the process of, and the barriers to, the intervention. Facilitators and intervention group members concurred that having groups representing various organisations was beneficial. Facilitators were considered important in assembling the groups. The facilitators functioned best if coming from the same geographical area as the groups and if they were able to come to terms with the chair of the groups. However, the facilitators’ lack of health knowledge was regarded as a deficit for assisting the groups’ assignments. FGD participants experienced the NeoKIP intervention to have impact on the knowledge and behaviour of both intervention group members and the general public, however, they found that the intervention was a slow and time-consuming process. Perceived facilitation barriers were lack of money, inadequate support, and the function of the intervention groups.
This qualitative process evaluation contributes to explain the improved neonatal survival and why this occurred after a latent period in the NeoKIP project. The used knowledge translation intervention, where facilitators supported multi-stakeholder coalitions with the mandate to impact upon attitudes and behaviour in the communes, has low costs and potential for being scaled-up within existing healthcare systems.
PMCID: PMC3866580  PMID: 24330472
12.  Translating and testing the Alberta context tool for use among nurses in Swedish elder care 
There is emerging evidence that context is important for successful transfer of research knowledge into health care practice. The Alberta Context Tool (ACT) is a Canadian developed research-based instrument that assesses 10 modifiable concepts of organizational context considered important for health care professionals’ use of evidence. Swedish and Canadian health care have similarities in terms of organisational and professional aspects, suggesting that the ACT could be used for measuring context in Sweden. This paper reports on the translation of the ACT to Swedish and a testing of preliminary aspects of its validity, acceptability and reliability in Swedish elder care.
The ACT was translated into Swedish and back-translated into English before being pilot tested in ten elder care facilities for response processes validity, acceptability and reliability (Cronbach’s alpha). Subsequently, further modification was performed.
In the pilot test, the nurses found the questions easy to respond to (52%) and relevant (65%), yet the questions’ clarity were mainly considered ‘neither clear nor unclear’ (52%). Missing data varied between 0 (0%) and 19 (12%) per item, the most common being 1 missing case per item (15 items). Internal consistency (Cronbach’s Alpha > .70) was reached for 5 out of 8 contextual concepts. Translation and back translation identified 21 linguistic- and semantic related issues and 3 context related deviations, resolved by developers and translators.
Modifying an instrument is a detailed process, requiring time and consideration of the linguistic and semantic aspects of the instrument, and understanding of the context where the instrument was developed and where it is to be applied. A team, including the instrument’s developers, translators, and researchers is necessary to ensure a valid translation. This study suggests preliminary validity, reliability and acceptability evidence for the ACT when used with nurses in Swedish elder care.
PMCID: PMC3599200  PMID: 23421736
Questionnaire; Translation; Validity; Health care context; Research utilization; Nursing
13.  Information transfer and continuity of care for stroke patients with eating difficulties from the perspectives of nursing staff in Swedish elderly care 
Continuity of care is a key issue in the care for elderly people, for example, those having experienced stroke, particularly with regards to informational and managerial continuity based on patient record data.
The study aim was to explore municipal nursing staff’s (n=30) perceptions of discharge information provided to them for stroke patients with eating difficulties.
Structured interviews were used and data were analysed by content analysis and descriptive statistics.
Results showed that nursing staff perceived informational continuity and accuracy of information on patients’ eating difficulties as poor and that little information on eating difficulties reached licensed practical nurses, who instead relied on their own assessments of patients’ eating ability. Co-ordinated care planning and management continuity were largely lacking, increasing the risk for undernutrition and related complications for the patients.
PMCID: PMC3799090  PMID: 24199052
14.  FIRE (facilitating implementation of research evidence): a study protocol 
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3356232  PMID: 22453077

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