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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.  Response process and test–retest reliability of the Context Assessment for Community Health tool in Vietnam 
Global Health Action  2016;9:10.3402/gha.v9.31572.
The recently developed Context Assessment for Community Health (COACH) tool aims to measure aspects of the local healthcare context perceived to influence knowledge translation in low- and middle-income countries. The tool measures eight dimensions (organizational resources, community engagement, monitoring services for action, sources of knowledge, commitment to work, work culture, leadership, and informal payment) through 49 items.
The study aimed to explore the understanding and stability of the COACH tool among health providers in Vietnam.
To investigate the response process, think-aloud interviews were undertaken with five community health workers, six nurses and midwives, and five physicians. Identified problems were classified according to Conrad and Blair's taxonomy and grouped according to an estimation of the magnitude of the problem's effect on the response data. Further, the stability of the tool was examined using a test–retest survey among 77 respondents. The reliability was analyzed for items (intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and percent agreement) and dimensions (ICC and Bland–Altman plots).
In general, the think-aloud interviews revealed that the COACH tool was perceived as clear, well organized, and easy to answer. Most items were understood as intended. However, seven prominent problems in the items were identified and the content of three dimensions was perceived to be of a sensitive nature. In the test–retest survey, two-thirds of the items and seven of eight dimensions were found to have an ICC agreement ranging from moderate to substantial (0.5–0.7), demonstrating that the instrument has an acceptable level of stability.
This study provides evidence that the Vietnamese translation of the COACH tool is generally perceived to be clear and easy to understand and has acceptable stability. There is, however, a need to rephrase and add generic examples to clarify some items and to further review items with low ICC.
PMCID: PMC4904068  PMID: 27293124
knowledge translation; context assessment; response process; think-aloud interview; test–retest; validity; reliability; implementation science
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.  Effects of computer reminders on complications of peripheral venous catheters and nurses’ adherence to a guideline in paediatric care—a cluster randomised study 
Reminder systems in electronic patient records (EPR) have proven to affect both health care professionals’ behaviour and patient outcomes. The aim of this cluster randomised trial was to investigate the effects of implementing a clinical practice guideline (CPG) for peripheral venous catheters (PVCs) in paediatric care in the format of reminders integrated in the EPRs, on PVC-related complications, and on registered nurses’ (RNs’) self-reported adherence to the guideline. An additional aim was to study the relationship between contextual factors and the outcomes of the intervention.
The study involved 12 inpatient units at a paediatric university hospital. The reminders included choice of PVC, hygiene, maintenance, and daily inspection of PVC site. Primary outcome was documented signs and symptoms of PVC-related complications at removal, retrieved from the EPR. Secondary outcome was RNs’ adherence to a PVC guideline, collected through a questionnaire that also included RNs’ perceived work context, as measured by the Alberta Context Tool. Units were allocated into two strata, based on occurrence of PVCs. A blinded simple draw of lots from each stratum randomised six units to the control and intervention groups, respectively. Units were not blinded. The intervention group included 626 PVCs at baseline and 618 post-intervention and the control group 724 PVCs at baseline and 674 post-intervention. RNs included at baseline were 212 (65.4 %) and 208 (71.5 %) post-intervention.
No significant effect was found for the computer reminders on PVC-related complications nor on RNs’ adherence to the guideline recommendations. The complication rate at baseline and post-intervention was 40.6 % (95 % confidence interval (CI) 36.7–44.5) and 41.9 % (95 % CI 38.0–45.8), for the intervention group and 40.3 % (95 % CI 36.8–44.0) and 46.9 % (95 % CI 43.1–50.7) for the control. In general, RNs’ self-rated work context varied from moderately low to moderately high, indicating that conditions for a successful implementation to occur were less optimal.
The reminders might have benefitted from being accompanied by a tailored intervention that targeted specific barriers, such as the low frequency of recorded reasons for removal, the low adherence to daily inspection of PVC sites, and the lack of regular feedback to the RNs.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN44819426
PMCID: PMC4728777  PMID: 26818599
Peripheral venous catheter; Clinical decision support system; Computer reminder; Paediatric; Clinical practice guideline; Cluster RCT; Implementation; Context
6.  Process evaluation of a knowledge translation intervention using facilitation of local stakeholder groups to improve neonatal survival in the Quang Ninh province, Vietnam 
Trials  2016;17:23.
Annually, 2.8 million neonatal deaths occur worldwide, despite the fact that three-quarters of them could be prevented if available evidence-based interventions were used. Facilitation of community groups has been recognized as a promising method to translate knowledge into practice. In northern Vietnam, the Neonatal Health – Knowledge Into Practice trial evaluated facilitation of community groups (2008–2011) and succeeded in reducing the neonatal mortality rate (adjusted odds ratio, 0.51; 95 % confidence interval 0.30–0.89). The aim of this paper is to report on the process (implementation and mechanism of impact) of this intervention.
Process data were excerpted from diary information from meetings with facilitators and intervention groups, and from supervisor records of monthly meetings with facilitators. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. An evaluation including attributes and skills of facilitators (e.g., group management, communication, and commitment) was performed at the end of the intervention using a six-item instrument. Odds ratios were analyzed, adjusted for cluster randomization using general linear mixed models.
To ensure eight active facilitators over 3 years, 11 Women’s Union representatives were recruited and trained. Of the 44 intervention groups, composed of health staff and commune stakeholders, 43 completed their activities until the end of the study. In total, 95 % (n = 1508) of the intended monthly meetings with an intervention group and a facilitator were conducted. The overall attendance of intervention group members was 86 %. The groups identified 32 unique problems and implemented 39 unique actions. The identified problems targeted health issues concerning both women and neonates. Actions implemented were mainly communication activities. Communes supported by a group with a facilitator who was rated high on attributes and skills (n = 27) had lower odds of neonatal mortality (odds ratio, 0.37; 95 % confidence interval, 0.19–0.73) than control communes (n = 46).
This evaluation identified several factors that might have influenced the outcomes of the trial: continuity of intervention groups’ work, adequate attributes and skills of facilitators, and targeting problems along a continuum of care. Such factors are important to consider in scaling-up efforts.
Trial registration
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13063-015-1141-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4711002  PMID: 26762125
community health workers; facilitation; knowledge translation; neonatal health; neonatal mortality; process evaluation; Vietnam
7.  Understanding the “black box” of a health-promotion program: Keys to enable health among older persons aging in the context of migration 
Although the need to make health services more accessible to persons who have migrated has been identified, knowledge about health-promotion programs (HPPs) from the perspective of older persons born abroad is lacking. This study explores the design experiences and content implemented in an adapted version of a group-based HPP developed in a researcher–community partnership. Fourteen persons aged 70–83 years or older who had migrated to Sweden from Finland or the Balkan Peninsula were included. A grounded theory approach guided the data collection and analysis. The findings showed how participants and personnel jointly helped raise awareness. The participants experienced three key processes that could open doors to awareness: enabling community, providing opportunities to understand and be understood, and confirming human values and abilities. Depending on how the HPP content and design are being shaped by the group, the key processes could both inhibit or encourage opening doors to awareness. Therefore, this study provides key insights into how to enable health by deepening the understanding of how the exchange of health-promoting messages is experienced to be facilitated or hindered. This study adds to the scientific knowledge base of how the design and content of HPP may support and recognize the capabilities of persons aging in the context of migration.
PMCID: PMC4676363  PMID: 26654636
Immigrant; emigrant; occupation; group intervention; person-centeredness; grounded theory; health-promoting messages
8.  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
9.  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
10.  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
11.  Health system context and implementation of evidence-based practices—development and validation of the Context Assessment for Community Health (COACH) tool for low- and middle-income settings 
The gap between what is known and what is practiced results in health service users not benefitting from advances in healthcare, and in unnecessary costs. A supportive context is considered a key element for successful implementation of evidence-based practices (EBP). There were no tools available for the systematic mapping of aspects of organizational context influencing the implementation of EBPs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Thus, this project aimed to develop and psychometrically validate a tool for this purpose.
The development of the Context Assessment for Community Health (COACH) tool was premised on the context dimension in the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services framework, and is a derivative product of the Alberta Context Tool. Its development was undertaken in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Uganda, South Africa and Nicaragua in six phases: (1) defining dimensions and draft tool development, (2) content validity amongst in-country expert panels, (3) content validity amongst international experts, (4) response process validity, (5) translation and (6) evaluation of psychometric properties amongst 690 health workers in the five countries.
The tool was validated for use amongst physicians, nurse/midwives and community health workers. The six phases of development resulted in a good fit between the theoretical dimensions of the COACH tool and its psychometric properties. The tool has 49 items measuring eight aspects of context: Resources, Community engagement, Commitment to work, Informal payment, Leadership, Work culture, Monitoring services for action and Sources of knowledge.
Aspects of organizational context that were identified as influencing the implementation of EBPs in high-income settings were also found to be relevant in LMICs. However, there were additional aspects of context of relevance in LMICs specifically Resources, Community engagement, Commitment to work and Informal payment. Use of the COACH tool will allow for systematic description of the local healthcare context prior implementing healthcare interventions to allow for tailoring implementation strategies or as part of the evaluation of implementing healthcare interventions and thus allow for deeper insights into the process of implementing EBPs in LMICs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0305-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4537553  PMID: 26276443
12.  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
13.  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
14.  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
19.  Managerial leadership for research use in nursing and allied health care professions: a narrative synthesis protocol 
Systematic Reviews  2014;3:57.
Nurses and allied health care professionals (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, dietitians) form more than half of the clinical health care workforce and play a central role in health service delivery. There is a potential to improve the quality of health care if these professionals routinely use research evidence to guide their clinical practice. However, the use of research evidence remains unpredictable and inconsistent. Leadership is consistently described in implementation research as critical to enhancing research use by health care professionals. However, this important literature has not yet been synthesized and there is a lack of clarity on what constitutes effective leadership for research use, or what kinds of intervention effectively develop leadership for the purpose of enabling and enhancing research use in clinical practice. We propose to synthesize the evidence on leadership behaviours amongst front line and senior managers that are associated with research evidence by nurses and allied health care professionals, and then determine the effectiveness of interventions that promote these behaviours.
Using an integrated knowledge translation approach that supports a partnership between researchers and knowledge users throughout the research process, we will follow principles of knowledge synthesis using a systematic method to synthesize different types of evidence involving: searching the literature, study selection, data extraction and quality assessment, and analysis. A narrative synthesis will be conducted to explore relationships within and across studies and meta-analysis will be performed if sufficient homogeneity exists across studies employing experimental randomized control trial designs.
With the engagement of knowledge users in leadership and practice, we will synthesize the research from a broad range of disciplines to understand the key elements of leadership that supports and enables research use by health care practitioners, and how to develop leadership for the purpose of enhancing research use in clinical practice.
Trial registration
PROSPERO CRD42014007660.
PMCID: PMC4072612  PMID: 24903267
Dietetics,implementation science; Knowledge translation; Leadership; Management; Nursing; Occupational therapy; Physiotherapy; Research use; Speech and language pathology
20.  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
21.  A realist review of interventions and strategies to promote evidence-informed healthcare: a focus on change agency 
Change agency in its various forms is one intervention aimed at improving the effectiveness of the uptake of evidence. Facilitators, knowledge brokers and opinion leaders are examples of change agency strategies used to promote knowledge utilization. This review adopts a realist approach and addresses the following question: What change agency characteristics work, for whom do they work, in what circumstances and why?
The literature reviewed spanned the period 1997-2007. Change agency was operationalized as roles that are aimed at effecting successful change in individuals and organizations. A theoretical framework, developed through stakeholder consultation formed the basis for a search for relevant literature. Team members, working in sub groups, independently themed the data and developed chains of inference to form a series of hypotheses regarding change agency and the role of change agency in knowledge use.
24, 478 electronic references were initially returned from search strategies. Preliminary screening of the article titles reduced the list of potentially relevant papers to 196. A review of full document versions of potentially relevant papers resulted in a final list of 52 papers. The findings add to the knowledge of change agency as they raise issues pertaining to how change agents’ function, how individual change agent characteristics effect evidence-informed health care, the influence of interaction between the change agent and the setting and the overall effect of change agency on knowledge utilization. Particular issues are raised such as how accessibility of the change agent, their cultural compatibility and their attitude mediate overall effectiveness. Findings also indicate the importance of promoting reflection on practice and role modeling. The findings of this study are limited by the complexity and diversity of the change agency literature, poor indexing of literature and a lack of theory-driven approaches.
This is the first realist review of change agency. Though effectiveness evidence is weak, change agent roles are evolving, as is the literature, which requires more detailed description of interventions, outcomes measures, the context, intensity, and levels at which interventions are implemented in order to understand how change agent interventions effect evidence-informed health care.
PMCID: PMC3848622  PMID: 24010732
Realist synthesis; Evidence-informed health care; Change agency; Facilitators; Opinion leaders; Knowledge brokers’ knowledge utilization
22.  Effect of Facilitation of Local Maternal-and-Newborn Stakeholder Groups on Neonatal Mortality: Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001445.
Lars Åke Persson and colleagues conduct a cluster randomised control in northern Vietnam to analyze the effect of the activity of local community-based maternal-and-newborn stakeholder groups on neonatal mortality.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Facilitation of local women's groups may reportedly reduce neonatal mortality. It is not known whether facilitation of groups composed of local health care staff and politicians can improve perinatal outcomes. We hypothesised that facilitation of local stakeholder groups would reduce neonatal mortality (primary outcome) and improve maternal, delivery, and newborn care indicators (secondary outcomes) in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam.
Methods and Findings
In a cluster-randomized design 44 communes were allocated to intervention and 46 to control. Laywomen facilitated monthly meetings during 3 years in groups composed of health care staff and key persons in the communes. A problem-solving approach was employed. Births and neonatal deaths were monitored, and interviews were performed in households of neonatal deaths and of randomly selected surviving infants. A latent period before effect is expected in this type of intervention, but this timeframe was not pre-specified. Neonatal mortality rate (NMR) from July 2008 to June 2011 was 16.5/1,000 (195 deaths per 11,818 live births) in the intervention communes and 18.4/1,000 (194 per 10,559 live births) in control communes (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.96 [95% CI 0.73–1.25]). There was a significant downward time trend of NMR in intervention communes (p = 0.003) but not in control communes (p = 0.184). No significant difference in NMR was observed during the first two years (July 2008 to June 2010) while the third year (July 2010 to June 2011) had significantly lower NMR in intervention arm: adjusted OR 0.51 (95% CI 0.30–0.89). Women in intervention communes more frequently attended antenatal care (adjusted OR 2.27 [95% CI 1.07–4.8]).
A randomized facilitation intervention with local stakeholder groups composed of primary care staff and local politicians working for three years with a perinatal problem-solving approach resulted in increased attendance to antenatal care and reduced neonatal mortality after a latent period.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN44599712
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Over the past few years, there has been enormous international effort to meet the target set by Millennium Development Goal 4 to reduce the under-five child mortality rate by two-thirds and to reduce the number of maternal deaths by three-quarters, respectively, from the 1990 level by 2015. There has been some encouraging progress and according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization, in 2011, just under 7 million children aged under 5 years died, a fall of almost 3 million from a decade ago. However, currently, 41% of all deaths among children under the age of 5 years occur around birth and the first 28 days of life (perinatal and neonatal mortality). Simple interventions can substantially reduce neonatal deaths and there have been several international, national, and local efforts to implement effective care packages to help reduce the number of neonatal deaths.
Why Was This Study Done?
In order for these interventions to be most effective, it is important that the local community becomes involved. Community mobilization, especially through local women's groups, can empower women to prioritize specific interventions to help improve their own health and that of their baby. An alternative strategy might be to mobilize people who already have responsibility to promote health and welfare in society, such as primary care staff, village health workers, and elected political representatives. However, it is unclear if the activities of such stakeholder groups result in improved neonatal survival. So in this study from northern Vietnam, the researchers analyzed the effect of the activity of local maternal-and-newborn stakeholder groups on neonatal mortality.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 2008 and 2011, the researchers conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial in 90 communes within the Quang Ninh province of northeast of Vietnam: 44 communes were allocated to intervention and 46 to the control. The local women's union facilitated recruitment to the intervention, local stakeholder groups (Maternal and Newborn Health Groups), which comprised primary care staff, village health workers, women's union representatives, and the person with responsibility for health in the commune. The groups' role was to identify and prioritize local perinatal health problems and implement actions to help overcome these problems.
Over the three-year period, the Maternal and Newborn Health Groups in the 44 intervention communes had 1,508 meetings. Every year 15–27 unique problems were identified and addressed 94–151 times. The problem-solving processes resulted in an annual number of 19–27 unique actions that were applied 297–649 times per year. The top priority problems and actions identified by these groups dealt with antenatal care attendance, post-natal visits, nutrition and rest during pregnancy, home deliveries, and breast feeding. Neonatal mortality in the intervention group did not change over the first two years but showed a significant improvement in the third year. The three leading causes of death were prematurity/low birth-weight (36%), intrapartum-related neonatal deaths (30%), and infections (15%). Stillbirth rates were 7.4 per 1,000 births in the intervention arm and 9.0 per 1,000 births in the control arm. There was one maternal death in the intervention communes and four in the control communes and there was a significant improvement in antenatal care attendance in the intervention arm. However, there were no significant differences between the intervention and control groups of other outcomes, including tetanus immunization, delivery preparedness, institutional delivery, temperature control at delivery, early initiation of breastfeeding, or home visit of a midwife during the first week after delivery.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that local stakeholder groups comprised of primary care staff and local politicians using a problem-solving approach may help to reduce the neonatal mortality rate after three years of implementation (although the time period for an expected reduction in neonatal mortality was not specified before the trial started) and may also increase the rate of antenatal care attendance. However, the intervention had no effect on other important outcomes such as the rate of institutional delivery and breast feeding. This study used a novel approach of community-based activity that was implemented into the public sector system at low cost. A further reduction in neonatal deaths around delivery might be achieved by neonatal resuscitation training and home visits to the mother and her baby.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides comprehensive statistics on neonatal mortality
The Healthy Newborn Network has information on community interventions to help reduce neonatal mortality from around the world
PMCID: PMC3653802  PMID: 23690755
23.  Factors associated with evidence-based practice among registered nurses in Sweden: a national cross-sectional study 
Evidence-based practice (EBP) is emphasized to increase the quality of care and patient safety. EBP is often described as a process consisting of distinct activities including, formulating questions, searching for information, compiling the appraised information, implementing evidence, and evaluating the resulting practice. To increase registered nurses’ (RNs’) practice of EBP, variables associated with such activities need to be explored. The aim of the study was to examine individual and organizational factors associated with EBP activities among RNs 2 years post graduation.
A cross-sectional design based on a national sample of RNs was used. Data were collected in 2007 from a cohort of RNs, included in the Swedish Longitudinal Analyses of Nursing Education/Employment study. The sample consisted of 1256 RNs (response rate 76%). Of these 987 RNs worked in healthcare at the time of the data collection. Data was self-reported and collected through annual postal surveys. EBP activities were measured using six single items along with instruments measuring individual and work-related variables. Data were analyzed using logistic regression models.
Associated factors were identified for all six EBP activities. Capability beliefs regarding EBP was a significant factor for all six activities (OR = 2.6 - 7.3). Working in the care of older people was associated with a high extent of practicing four activities (OR = 1.7 - 2.2). Supportive leadership and high collective efficacy were associated with practicing three activities (OR = 1.4 - 2.0).
To be successful in enhancing EBP among newly graduated RNs, strategies need to incorporate both individually and organizationally directed factors.
PMCID: PMC3648399  PMID: 23642173
Cross-sectional studies; Evidence-based practice; Individual factors; Logistic models; Nurses; Organizational factors
24.  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
25.  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 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3538529  PMID: 23206670
Organizational context; PARIHS; Knowledge translation; Low-income settings; Focus group discussions; Interviews

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