The many randomized trials of the collaborative care model for improving depression in primary care have not described the implementation and maintenance of this model. This paper reports how and the degree to which collaborative care process changes were implemented and maintained for the 75 primary care clinics participating in the DIAMOND Initiative (Depression Improvement Across Minnesota–Offering a New Direction).
Each clinic was trained to implement seven components of the model and participated in ongoing evaluation and facilitation activities. For this study, assessment of clinical process implementation was accomplished via completion of surveys by the physician leader and clinic manager of each clinic site at three points in time. The physician leader of each clinic completed a survey measure of the presence of various practice systems prior to and one and two years after implementation. Clinic managers also completed a survey of organizational readiness and the strategies used for implementation.
Survey response rates were 96% to 100%. The systems survey confirmed a very high degree of implementation (with large variation) of DIAMOND depression practice systems (mean of 24.4 ± 14.6%) present at baseline, 57.0 ± 21.0% at one year (P = <0.0001), and 55.9 ± 21.3% at two years. There was a similarly large increase (and variation) in the use of various quality improvement strategies for depression (mean of 29.6 ± 28.1% at baseline, 75.1 ± 22.3% at one year (P = <0.0001), and 74.6 ± 23.0% at two years.
This study demonstrates that under the right circumstances, primary care clinics that are prepared to implement evidence-based care can do so if financial barriers are reduced, effective training and facilitation are provided, and the new design introduces the specific mental models, new care processes, and workers and expertise that are needed. Implementation was associated with a marked increase in the number of improvement strategies used, but actual care and outcomes data are needed to associate these changes with patient outcomes and patient-reported care.
Depression; Implementation; Organizational change; Quality improvement; Collaborative care
It is difficult to foster research utilization among allied health professionals (AHPs). Tailored, multifaceted knowledge translation (KT) strategies are now recommended but are resource intensive to implement. Employers need effective KT solutions but little is known about; the impact and viability of multifaceted KT strategies using an online KT tool, their effectiveness with AHPs and their effect on evidence-based practice (EBP) decision-making behavior. The study aim was to measure the effectiveness of a multifaceted KT intervention including a customized KT tool, to change EBP behavior, knowledge, and attitudes of AHPs.
This is an evaluator-blinded, cluster randomized controlled trial conducted in an Australian community-based cerebral palsy service. 135 AHPs (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, psychologists and social workers) from four regions were cluster randomized (n = 4), to either the KT intervention group (n = 73 AHPs) or the control group (n = 62 AHPs), using computer-generated random numbers, concealed in opaque envelopes, by an independent officer. The KT intervention included three-day skills training workshop and multifaceted workplace supports to redress barriers (paid EBP time, mentoring, system changes and access to an online research synthesis tool). Primary outcome (self- and peer-rated EBP behavior) was measured using the Goal Attainment Scale (individual level). Secondary outcomes (knowledge and attitudes) were measured using exams and the Evidence Based Practice Attitude Scale.
The intervention group’s primary outcome scores improved relative to the control group, however when clustering was taken into account, the findings were non-significant: self-rated EBP behavior [effect size 4.97 (95% CI -10.47, 20.41) (p = 0.52)]; peer-rated EBP behavior [effect size 5.86 (95% CI -17.77, 29.50) (p = 0.62)]. Statistically significant improvements in EBP knowledge were detected [effect size 2.97 (95% CI 1.97, 3.97 (p < 0.0001)]. Change in EBP attitudes was not statistically significant.
Improvement in EBP behavior was not statistically significant after adjusting for cluster effect, however similar improvements from peer-ratings suggest behaviorally meaningful gains. The large variability in behavior observed between clusters suggests barrier assessments and subsequent KT interventions may need to target subgroups within an organization.
Registered on the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12611000529943).
KT; Allied health; Evidence-based practice; Online KT tool
The concepts and standard practices of implementation, largely originating in developed countries, cannot necessarily be simply transferred into diverse cultural contexts. There has been relative inattention in the implementation science literature paid to the implementation of interventions targeting minority Indigenous populations within developed countries. This suggests that the implementation literature may be bypassing population groups within developed countries who suffer some of the greatest disadvantage. Within the context of Aboriginal Australian health improvement, this study considers the impact of political and cultural issues by examining the transfer and implementation of the Family Wellbeing program across 56 places over a 20-year period.
A theoretical model of program transfer was developed using constructivist-grounded theory methods. Data were generated by conducting in-depth interviews with 18 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal research respondents who had been active in transferring the program. Data were categorised into higher order abstract concepts and the core impetus for and process of program transfer were identified.
Organizations transferred the program by using it as a vehicle for supporting inside-out empowerment. The impetus to support inside-out empowerment referred to support for Aboriginal people's participation, responsibility for and control of their own affairs, and the associated ripple effects to family members, organizations, communities, and ultimately reconciliation with Australian society at large. Program transfer occurred through a multi-levelled process of embracing relatedness which included relatedness with self, others, and structural conditions; all three were necessary at both individual and organizational levels.
Similar to international implementation models, the model of supporting inside-out empowerment by embracing relatedness involved individuals, organizations, and interpersonal and inter-organizational networks. However, the model suggests that for minority Indigenous populations within developed countries, implementation approaches may require greater attention to the empowering nature of the intervention and its implementation, and multiple levels of relatedness by individuals and organizations with self, others, and the structural conditions. Key elements of the theoretical model provide a useful blueprint to inform the transfer of other empowerment programs to minority Indigenous and other disadvantaged populations on a case-by-case basis.
Indigenous; Aboriginal; Program; Transfer; Spread; Implementation; Grounded theory
The implementation of evidence-based treatments to deliver high-quality care is essential to meet the healthcare demands of aging populations. However, the sustainable application of recommended practice is difficult to achieve and variable outcomes well recognised. The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement Sustainability Model (SM) was designed to help healthcare teams recognise determinants of sustainability and take action to embed new practice in routine care. This article describes a formative evaluation of the application of the SM by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for Northwest London (CLAHRC NWL).
Data from project teams’ responses to the SM and formal reviews was used to assess acceptability of the SM and the extent to which it prompted teams to take action. Projects were classified as ‘engaged,’ ‘partially engaged’ and ‘non-engaged.’ Quarterly survey feedback data was used to explore reasons for variation in engagement. Score patterns were compared against formal review data and a ‘diversity of opinion’ measure was derived to assess response variance over time.
Of the 19 teams, six were categorized as ‘engaged,’ six ‘partially engaged,’ and seven as ‘non-engaged.’ Twelve teams found the model acceptable to some extent. Diversity of opinion reduced over time. A minority of teams used the SM consistently to take action to promote sustainability but for the majority SM use was sporadic. Feedback from some team members indicates difficulty in understanding and applying the model and negative views regarding its usefulness.
The SM is an important attempt to enable teams to systematically consider determinants of sustainability, provide timely data to assess progress, and prompt action to create conditions for sustained practice. Tools such as these need to be tested in healthcare settings to assess strengths and weaknesses and findings disseminated to aid development. This study indicates the SM provides a potentially useful approach to measuring teams’ views on the likelihood of sustainability and prompting action. Securing engagement of teams with the SM was challenging and redesign of elements may need to be considered. Capacity building and facilitation appears necessary for teams to effectively deploy the SM.
There is evidence of unsafe care in healthcare systems globally. Interventions to implement recommended practice often have modest and variable effects. Ideally, selecting and adapting interventions according to local contexts should enhance effects. However, the means by which this can happen is seldom systematic, based on theory, or made transparent. This work aimed to demonstrate the applicability, feasibility, and acceptability of a theoretical domains framework implementation (TDFI) approach for co-designing patient safety interventions.
We worked with three hospitals to support the implementation of evidence-based guidance to reduce the risk of feeding into misplaced nasogastric feeding tubes. Our stepped process, informed by the TDF and key principles from implementation literature, entailed: involving stakeholders; identifying target behaviors; identifying local factors (barriers and levers) affecting behavior change using a TDF-based questionnaire; working with stakeholders to generate specific local strategies to address key barriers; and supporting stakeholders to implement strategies. Exit interviews and audit data collection were undertaken to assess the feasibility and acceptability of this approach.
Following audit and discussion, implementation teams for each Trust identified the process of checking the positioning of nasogastric tubes prior to feeding as the key behavior to target. Questionnaire results indicated differences in key barriers between organizations. Focus groups generated innovative, generalizable, and adaptable strategies for overcoming barriers, such as awareness events, screensavers, equipment modifications, and interactive learning resources. Exit interviews identified themes relating to the benefits, challenges, and sustainability of this approach. Time trend audit data were collected for 301 patients over an 18-month period for one Trust, suggesting clinically significant improved use of pH and documentation of practice following the intervention.
The TDF is a feasible and acceptable framework to guide the implementation of patient safety interventions. The stepped TDFI approach engages healthcare professionals and facilitates contextualization in identifying the target behavior, eliciting local barriers, and selecting strategies to address those barriers. This approach may be of use to implementation teams and policy makers, although our promising findings confirm the need for a more rigorous evaluation; a balanced block evaluation is currently underway.
Behavior change; Theoretical domains framework; Intervention; Implementation; Patient safety
Leadership behaviour in complex networks is under-researched, and little has been written concerning leadership of translational research networks (TRNs) that take discoveries made ‘at the bench’ and translate them into practices used ‘at the bedside.’ Understanding leaders’ opportunities and behaviours within TRNs working to solve this key problem in implementing evidence into clinical practice is therefore important. This study explored the network position of governing body members and perceptions of their role in a new TRN in Sydney, Australia. The paper asks three questions: Firstly, do the formal, mandated leaders of this TRN hold key positions of centrality or brokerage in the informal social network of collaborative ties? Secondly, if so, do they recognise the leadership opportunities that their network positions afford them? Thirdly, what activities associated with these key roles do they believe will maximise the TRN’s success?
Semi-structured interviews of all 14 governing body members conducted in early 2012 explored perceptions of their roles and sought comments on a list of activities drawn from review of successful transdisciplinary collaboratives combined with central and brokerage roles. An on-line, whole network survey of all 68 TRN members sought to understand and map existing collaborative connections. Leaders’ positions in the network were assessed using UCInet, and graphs were generated in NetDraw.
Social network analysis identified that governing body members had high centrality and high brokerage potential in the informal network of work-related ties. Interviews showed perceived challenges including ‘silos’ and the mismatch between academic and clinical goals of research. Governing body members recognised their central positions, which would facilitate the leadership roles of leading, making decisions, and providing expert advice necessary for the co-ordination of effort and relevant input across domains. Brokerage potential was recognised in their clearly understood role of representing a specialty, campus or research group on the governing body to provide strategic linkages. Facilitation, mentoring and resolving conflicts within more localised project teams were spoken of as something ‘we do all the time anyway,’ as well as something they would do if called upon. These leadership roles are all linked with successful collaborative endeavours in other fields.
This paper links the empirical findings of the social network analysis with the qualitative findings of the interviews to show that the leaders’ perceptions of their roles accord with both the potential inherent in their network positions as well as actual activities known to increase the success of transdisciplinary teams. Understanding this is key to successful TRNs.
Network analysis; Leadership; Health sector; Centrality; Brokerage; Key players; Research
Knowledge translation strategies are an approach to increase the use of evidence within policy and practice decision-making contexts. In clinical and health service contexts, knowledge translation strategies have focused on individual behavior change, however the multi-system context of public health requires a multi-level, multi-strategy approach. This paper describes the design of and implementation plan for a knowledge translation intervention for public health decision making in local government.
Four preliminary research studies contributed findings to the design of the intervention: a systematic review of knowledge translation intervention effectiveness research, a scoping study of knowledge translation perspectives and relevant theory literature, a survey of the local government public health workforce, and a study of the use of evidence-informed decision-making for public health in local government. A logic model was then developed to represent the putative pathways between intervention inputs, processes, and outcomes operating between individual-, organizational-, and system-level strategies. This formed the basis of the intervention plan.
The systematic and scoping reviews identified that effective and promising strategies to increase access to research evidence require an integrated intervention of skill development, access to a knowledge broker, resources and tools for evidence-informed decision making, and networking for information sharing. Interviews and survey analysis suggested that the intervention needs to operate at individual and organizational levels, comprising workforce development, access to evidence, and regular contact with a knowledge broker to increase access to intervention evidence; develop skills in appraisal and integration of evidence; strengthen networks; and explore organizational factors to build organizational cultures receptive to embedding evidence in practice. The logic model incorporated these inputs and strategies with a set of outcomes to measure the intervention’s effectiveness based on the theoretical frameworks, evaluation studies, and decision-maker experiences.
Documenting the design of and implementation plan for this knowledge translation intervention provides a transparent, theoretical, and practical approach to a complex intervention. It provides significant insights into how practitioners might engage with evidence in public health decision making. While this intervention model was designed for the local government context, it is likely to be applicable and generalizable across sectors and settings.
Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Register ACTRN12609000953235.
Knowledge translation; Evidence; Public health; Decision-making
Treatment of psychotic disorders consists primarily of second generation antipsychotics, which are associated with metabolic side effects such as overweight/obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines recommend timely assessment and management of these conditions; however, research studies show deficits and delays in metabolic monitoring and management for these patients. This protocol article describes the project ‘Monitoring and Management for Metabolic Side Effects of Antipsychotics,’ which is testing an approach to implement recommendations for these practices.
This project employs a cluster randomized clinical trial design to test effectiveness of an evidence-based quality improvement plus facilitation intervention. Eligible study sites were VA Medical Centers with ≥300 patients started on a new antipsychotic prescription in a six-month period. A total of 12 sites, matched in pairs based on scores on an organizational practice survey, were then randomized within pairs to intervention or control conditions.
Study participants include VA employees involved in metabolic monitoring and management of patients treated with antipsychotics at participating sites. The intervention involves researchers partnering with clinical stakeholders to facilitate tailoring of local implementation strategies to address barriers to metabolic side-effect monitoring and management. The intervention includes a Design Phase (initial site visit and subsequent development of a local implementation plan); Implementation Phase (guided by an experienced external facilitator); and a Sustainability Phase. Evaluation includes developmental, implementation-focused, progress-focused and interpretative formative evaluation components, as well as summative evaluation. Evaluation methods include surveys, qualitative data collection from provider participants, and quantitative data analysis of data for all patients prescribed a new antipsychotic medication at a study site who are due for monitoring or management of metabolic side effects during the study phases. Changes in rates of recommended monitoring and management actions at intervention and control sites will be compared using time series analyses.
Improving monitoring for metabolic side effects of antipsychotics, as well as promoting timely evidence-based management when these effects emerge, will lead to improved patient safety and long-term outcomes. This article discusses key strengths and challenges of the study.
Evidence-based quality improvement; External facilitation; Metabolic side effects; Metabolic monitoring; Metabolic management; Antipsychotic side effects; Veterans; Mental health
Patients in control of their own haemodialysis report better outcomes than those receiving professional controlled care in a hospital setting, even though home and hospital haemodialysis are largely equivalent from mechanical and physiological perspectives. Shared Haemodialysis Care (SHC) describes an initiative in which hospital haemodialysis patients are supported by dialysis staff to become as involved as they wish in their own care; and can improve patient safety, satisfaction and may reduce costs. We do not understand why interventions to support self-management in other conditions have variable effects or how to optimise the delivery of SHC. The purpose of this study was to identify perceived patient and professional (nurses and healthcare assistants) barriers to the uptake of SHC, and to use these data to identify intervention components to optimise care.
Individual semi-structured interviews with patients and professionals were conducted to identify barriers and facilitators. Data were coded to behavioural theory to identify solutions. A national UK learning event with multiple stakeholders (patients, carers, commissioners and professionals) explored the salience of these barriers and the acceptability of solutions.
A complex intervention strategy was designed to optimise SHC for patients and professionals. Interviews were conducted with patients (n = 15) and professionals (n = 7) in two hospitals and three satellite units piloting SHC. Data from patient and professional interviews could be coded to behavioural theory. Analyses identified key barriers (knowledge, beliefs about capabilities, skills and environmental context and resources). An intervention strategy that focuses on providing, first, patients with information about the shared nature of care, how to read prescriptions and use machines, and second, providing professionals with skills and protected time to teach both professionals/patients, as well as providing continual review, may improve the implementation of SHC and be acceptable to stakeholders.
We have developed an intervention strategy to improve the implementation of SHC for patients and professionals. While this intervention strategy has been systematically developed using behavioural theory, it should be rigorously tested in a subsequent effectiveness evaluation study prior to implementation to ensure that shared haemodialysis care can be delivered equitably, efficiently and safely for all patients.
Haemodialysis; Shared care; Behavioural theory; Barriers and facilitators
Despite growth in implementation research, limited scientific attention has focused on understanding and improving sustainability of health interventions. Models of sustainability have been evolving to reflect challenges in the fit between intervention and context.
We examine the development of concepts of sustainability, and respond to two frequent assumptions —'voltage drop,’ whereby interventions are expected to yield lower benefits as they move from efficacy to effectiveness to implementation and sustainability, and 'program drift,’ whereby deviation from manualized protocols is assumed to decrease benefit. We posit that these assumptions limit opportunities to improve care, and instead argue for understanding the changing context of healthcare to continuously refine and improve interventions as they are sustained. Sustainability has evolved from being considered as the endgame of a translational research process to a suggested 'adaptation phase’ that integrates and institutionalizes interventions within local organizational and cultural contexts. These recent approaches locate sustainability in the implementation phase of knowledge transfer, but still do not address intervention improvement as a central theme. We propose a Dynamic Sustainability Framework that involves: continued learning and problem solving, ongoing adaptation of interventions with a primary focus on fit between interventions and multi-level contexts, and expectations for ongoing improvement as opposed to diminishing outcomes over time.
A Dynamic Sustainability Framework provides a foundation for research, policy and practice that supports development and testing of falsifiable hypotheses and continued learning to advance the implementation, transportability and impact of health services research.
Sustainability; Maintenance; Adaptation; Dissemination; Implementation; Framework; Model
Multiple guidelines are often available to inform practice in complex interventions. Guidance implementation may be facilitated if it is tailored to particular clinical issues and contexts. It should also aim to specify all elements of interventions that may mediate and modify effectiveness, including both their content and delivery. We conducted a focused synthesis of recommendations from stroke practice guidelines to produce a structured and comprehensive account to facilitate the development of community-based exercise programmes after stroke.
Published stroke clinical practice guidelines were searched for recommendations relevant to the content and delivery of community-based exercise interventions after stroke. These were synthesised using a framework based on target intervention outcomes, personal and programme proximal objectives, and recommended strategies.
Nineteen guidelines were included in the synthesis (STRIDES; STroke Rehabilitation Intervention-Development Evidence Synthesis). Eight target outcomes, 14 proximal objectives, and 94 recommended strategies were identified. The synthesis was structured to present best practice recommendations in a format that could be used by intervention programme developers. It addresses both programme content and context, including personal factors, service standards and delivery issues. Some recommendations relating to content, and many relating to delivery and other contextual issues, were based on low level evidence or expert opinion. Where opinion varied, the synthesis indicates the range of best practice options suggested in guidelines.
The synthesis may assist implementation of best practice by providing a structured intervention description that focuses on a particular clinical application, addresses practical issues involved in programme development and provision, and illustrates the range of best-practice options available to users where robust evidence is lacking. The synthesis approach could be applied to other areas of stroke rehabilitation or to other complex interventions.
Guidelines; Synthesis; Stroke; Rehabilitation; Exercise
Many behavioral interventions designed to improve health outcomes are delivered in group settings. To date, however, group interventions have not been evaluated to determine if the groups generate interaction among members and how changes in group interaction may affect program outcomes at the individual or group level.
This article presents a model and practical tool for monitoring how social ties and social structure are changing within the group during program implementation. The approach is based on social network analysis and has two phases: collecting network measurements at strategic intervention points to determine if group dynamics are evolving in ways anticipated by the intervention, and providing the results back to the group leader to guide implementation next steps. This process aims to initially increase network connectivity and ultimately accelerate the diffusion of desirable behaviors through the new network. This article presents the Social Network Diagnostic Tool and, as proof of concept, pilot data collected during the formative phase of a childhood obesity intervention.
The number of reported advice partners and discussion partners increased during program implementation. Density, the number of ties among people in the network expressed as a percentage of all possible ties, increased from 0.082 to 0.182 (p < 0.05) in the advice network, and from 0.027 to 0.055 (p > 0.05) in the discussion network.
The observed two-fold increase in network density represents a significant shift in advice partners over the intervention period. Using the Social Network Tool to empirically guide program activities of an obesity intervention was feasible.
Social network analysis; Behavior change; Group interventions; Obesity
Despite significant investments into health improvement programmes in Uganda, health indicators and access to healthcare remain poor across the country. The PRIME trial aims to evaluate the impact of a complex intervention delivered in public health centres on health outcomes of children and management of malaria in rural Uganda. The intervention consists of four components: Health Centre Management; Fever Case Management; Patient- Centered Services; and support for supplies of malaria diagnostics and antimalarial drugs.
The PROCESS study will use mixed methods to evaluate the processes, mechanisms of change, and context of the PRIME intervention by addressing five objectives. First, to develop a comprehensive logic model of the intervention, articulating the project’s hypothesised pathways to trial outcomes. Second, to evaluate the implementation of the intervention, including health worker training, health centre management tools, and the supply of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria. Third, to understand mechanisms of change of the intervention components, including testing hypotheses and interpreting realities of the intervention, including resistance, in context. Fourth, to develop a contextual record over time of factors that may have affected implementation of the intervention, mechanisms of change, and trial outcomes, including factors at population, health centre and district levels. Fifth, to capture broader expected and unexpected impacts of the intervention and trial activities among community members, health centre workers, and private providers. Methods will include intervention logic mapping, questionnaires, recorded consultations, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and contextual data documentation.
The findings of this PROCESS study will be interpreted alongside the PRIME trial results. This will enable a greater ability to generalise the findings of the main trial. The investigators will attempt to assess which methods are most informative in such evaluations of complex interventions in low-resource settings.
Process evaluation; Theory-driven evaluation; Pathways of change; Complex interventions; Cluster randomised trial
In Africa, inadequate health services contribute to the lack of progress on malaria control. Evidence of the impact of interventions to improve health services on population-level malaria indicators is needed. We are conducting a cluster-randomised trial to assess whether a complex intervention delivered at public health centres in Uganda improves health outcomes of children and treatment of malaria, as compared to the current standard of care.
Twenty public health centres (level II and III) in Tororo district will be included; 10 will be randomly assigned to the intervention and 10 to control. Clusters will include households located within 2 km of health centres. The trial statistician will generate the random allocation sequence and assign clusters. Health centres will be stratified by level, and restricted randomisation will be employed to ensure balance on cluster location and size. Allocation will not be blinded. The intervention includes training in health centre management, fever case management with use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria, and patient-centered services, and provision of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and RDTs when stocks run low. The impact of the intervention on population-level health indicators will be assessed through community surveys conducted at baseline in randomly selected children from each cluster, and repeated annually for two years. The impact on individuals over time will be assessed in a cohort study of children recruited from households randomly selected per cluster. The impact on health centres will be assessed using patient exit interviews, monthly surveillance, and assessment of health worker knowledge and skills. The primary outcome is the prevalence of anaemia (haemoglobin <11.0 g/dL) in individual children under five measured in the annual community surveys. The primary analysis will be based on the cluster-level results.
The PRIME trial findings will be supplemented by the PROCESS study, an evaluation of the process, context, and wider impact of the PRIME intervention which will be conducted alongside the main trial, together providing evidence of the health impact of a public sector intervention in Uganda.
Trial registration and funding
This trial is registered at Clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01024426) and is supported by the ACT Consortium.
Malaria; Complex intervention; Cluster-randomised trial; Uganda; Public sector
Implementation of evidence-based practice (EBP) is regarded as core competence to improve healthcare quality. In the current study, we investigated the EBP of six groups of professionals: physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, technicians, and other allied healthcare personnel.
A structured questionnaire survey of regional hospitals throughout Taiwan was conducted by post in 2011. Questionnaires were mailed to all healthcare workers of 11 randomly selected hospitals. Linear and logistic regression models were used to examine predictors for implementing EBP.
In total, 6,160 returned questionnaires, including 645 from physicians, 4,206 from nurses, 430 from pharmacists, 179 from physical therapists, 537 from technicians, and 163 from other allied healthcare professionals, were valid for the analysis. Physicians and pharmacists were more aware of EBP than were the other professional groups (p < 0.001). Positive attitudes toward and beliefs in EBP were significantly lower among nurses than in the other groups (p < 0.001). Physicians had more sufficient knowledge and skills of EBP than did the other professionals (p < 0.001); in addition, they implemented EBP for clinical decision-making more often and perceived fewer personal barriers to EBP (p < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that EBP implementation was associated with the following characteristics of participants: EBP training, having a faculty position, academic degree, one's profession, and perceptions (beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, skills and barriers).
This study depicts various levels of EBP implementation among medical, nursing, pharmacological, and allied healthcare personnel. There were significant differences in their implementation of EBP. We observed that certain factors were associated with EBP implementation, including personal backgrounds and perceptions toward EBP. The data suggest that strategies for enhancing EBP implementation should differ for various groups of professionals.
A theoretical approach to assessing the barriers and levers to evidence-based practice (EBP) with subsequent tailoring of theoretically informed strategies to address these may go some way to positively influencing the delay in implementing research findings into practice. Hand hygiene is one such example of EBP, chosen for this study due to its importance in preventing death through healthcare associated infections (HCAI). The development of an instrument to assess barriers and levers to hand hygiene and to allow the subsequent tailoring of theoretically informed implementation strategies is reported here.
A comprehensive list of barriers and levers to hand hygiene were categorised to the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) in a Delphi survey. These items formed the basis of an instrument that was tested to establish validity and reliability. The relationship between self-reported compliance with hand hygiene and barriers and levers to hand hygiene was also examined along with compliance according to where the barriers and levers fit within the domains of the TDF framework.
A 33-item instrument that tested well for internal consistency (α = 0.84) and construct validity (χ2/df = 1.9 [p < 0.01], RMSEA = 0.05 and CFA = 0.84) was developed. The relationship between self-reported compliance with hand hygiene moderately correlated with barriers identified by participants (total barrier score) (r = 0.41, n = 276, p <0.001). The greater the number of barriers reported, the lower the level of compliance. A one-way between groups multivariate analysis of variance was performed to investigate differences between those adopting high or low compliance with hand hygiene. Compliance was highest for this sample of participants among practitioners with high levels of motivation, strong beliefs about capabilities, when there were positive social influences, when hand hygiene was central to participants’ sense of professional identity and was easier to remember to do.
This study has produced encouraging findings suggesting the potential for improved hand hygiene and resulting effects on the human and financial costs of healthcare associated infection. This study identifies a further potential use for the TDF.
Evidence-based practice; Implementation; Hand hygiene; Instrument; Barriers and levers; Psychological theory; Compliance
Mental-physical multi-morbidities pose challenges for primary care services that traditionally focus on single diseases. Collaborative care models encourage inter-professional working to deliver better care for patients with multiple chronic conditions, such as depression and long-term physical health problems. Successive trials from the United States have shown that collaborative care effectively improves depression outcomes, even in people with long-term conditions (LTCs), but little is known about how to implement collaborative care in the United Kingdom. The aim of the study was to explore the extent to which collaborative care was implemented in a naturalistic National Health Service setting.
A naturalistic pilot study of collaborative care was undertaken in North West England. Primary care mental health professionals from IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) services and general practice nurses were trained to collaboratively identify and manage patients with co-morbid depression and long-term conditions. Qualitative interviews were performed with health professionals at the beginning and end of the pilot phase. Normalization Process Theory guided analysis.
Health professionals adopted limited elements of the collaborative care model in practice. Although benefits of co-location in primary care practices were reported, including reduced stigma of accessing mental health treatment and greater ease of disposal for identified patients, existing norms around the division of mental and physical health work in primary care were maintained, limiting integration of the mental health practitioners into the practice setting. Neither the mental health practitioners nor the practice nurses perceived benefits to joint management of patients.
Established divisions between mental and physical health may pose particular challenges for multi-morbidity service delivery models such as collaborative care. Future work should explore patient perspectives about whether greater inter-professional working enhances experiences of care. The study demonstrates that research into implementation of novel treatments must consider how the introduction of innovation can be balanced with the need for integration into existing practice.
Depression; Mental health; Co-morbidity; Implementation; Qualitative; Collaborative care; Chronic care; Primary care
In 2007, Alberta became the first Canadian jurisdiction to grant pharmacists a wide range of prescribing privileges. Our objective was to understand what factors influence pharmacists’ adoption of prescribing using a model for the Diffusion of Innovations in healthcare services.
Pharmacists participated in semi-structured telephone interviews to discuss their prescribing practices and explore the facilitators and barriers to implementation. Pharmacists working in community, hospital, PCN, or other settings were selected using a mix of random and purposive sampling. Two investigators independently analyzed each transcript using an Interpretive Description approach to identify themes. Analyses were informed by a model explaining the Diffusion of Innovations in health service organizations.
Thirty-eight participants were interviewed. Prescribing behaviours varied from non-adoption through to product, disease, and patient focused use of prescribing. Pharmacists’ adoption of prescribing was dependent on the innovation itself, adopter, system readiness, and communication and influence. Adopting pharmacists viewed prescribing as a legitimization of previous practice and advantageous to instrumental daily tasks. The complexity of knowledge required for prescribing increased respectively in product, disease and patient focused prescribing scenarios. Individual adopters had higher levels of self-efficacy toward prescribing skills. At a system level, pharmacists who were in practice settings that were patient focused were more likely to adopt advanced prescribing practices, over those in product-focused settings. All pharmacists stated that physician relationships impacted their prescribing behaviours and individual pharmacists’ decisions to apply for independent prescribing privileges.
Diffusion of Innovations theory was helpful in understanding the multifaceted nature of pharmacists’ adoption of prescribing. The characteristics of the prescribing model itself which legitimized prior practices, the model of practice in a pharmacy setting, and relationships with physicians were prominent influences on pharmacists’ prescribing behaviours.
The editors of Implementation Science would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 7 (2012).
One of the challenges to implementing clinical practice guidelines is the need to adapt guidelines to the local context and identify barriers to their uptake. Several models of framework are available to consider for use in guideline adaptation.
We completed a multiphase study to explore the implementation of maternal health guidelines in Kosovo, focusing on determinants of uptake and methods to contextualize for local use. The study involved a survey, individual interviews, focus groups, and a consensus meeting with relevant stakeholders, including clinicians (obstetricians, midwives), managers, researchers, and policy makers from the national Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization office in Pristina, Kosovo.
Participants identified several important barriers to implementation. First, lack of communication between clinicians and ministry representatives was seen as leading to duplication of effort in creating or adapting guidelines, as well as substantial mistrust between clinicians and policy makers. Second, there was a lack of communication across clinical groups that provide obstetric care and a lack of integration across the entire healthcare system, including rural and urban centers. This fragmentation was thought to have directly resulted from the war in 1998 – 1999. Third, the conflict substantially and adversely affected the healthcare infrastructure in Kosovo, which has resulted in an inability to monitor quality of care across the country. Furthermore, the impact on infrastructure has affected the ability to access required medications consistently and to smoothly transfer patients from rural to urban centers. Another issue raised during this project was the appropriateness of including guideline recommendations perceived to be ‘aspirational’.
Implementing clinical practice guidelines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) requires consideration of several specific barriers. Particularly pertinent to this study were the effects of recent conflict and the resulting fragmentation of healthcare and communication strategies among relevant stakeholders. However, as Kosovo rebuilds and invests in infrastructure after the conflict, there is a tremendous opportunity to create comprehensive, thoughtful strategies to monitor and improve quality of care. To avoid duplication of effort, it may be beneficial for LMICs to share information on assessing barriers as well as on guideline implementation strategies.
Guideline implementation; Determinants of evidence uptake
Hypertension is prevalent and often sub-optimally controlled; however, interventions to improve blood pressure control have had limited success.
Through implementation of an evidence-based nurse-delivered self-management phone intervention to facilitate hypertension management within large complex health systems, we sought to answer the following questions: What is the level of organizational readiness to implement the intervention? What are the specific facilitators, barriers, and contextual factors that may affect organizational readiness to change?
Each intervention site from three separate Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs), which represent 21 geographic regions across the US, agreed to enroll 500 participants over a year with at least 0.5 full time equivalent employees of nursing time. Our mixed methods approach used a priori semi-structured interviews conducted with stakeholders (n = 27) including nurses, physicians, administrators, and information technology (IT) professionals between 2010 and 2011. Researchers iteratively identified facilitators and barriers of organizational readiness to change (ORC) and implementation. Additionally, an ORC survey was conducted with the stakeholders who were (n = 102) preparing for program implementation.
Key ORC facilitators included stakeholder buy-in and improving hypertension. Positive organizational characteristics likely to impact ORC included: other similar programs that support buy-in, adequate staff, and alignment with the existing site environment; improved patient outcomes; is positive for the professional nurse role, and is evidence-based; understanding of the intervention; IT infrastructure and support, and utilization of existing equipment and space.
The primary ORC barrier was unclear long-term commitment of nursing. Negative organizational characteristics likely to impact ORC included: added workload, competition with existing programs, implementation length, and limited available nurse staff time; buy-in is temporary until evidence shows improved outcomes; contacting patients and the logistics of integration into existing workflow is a challenge; and inadequate staffing is problematic. Findings were complementary across quantitative and qualitative analyses.
The model of organizational change identified key facilitators and barriers of organizational readiness to change and successful implementation. This study allows us to understand the needs and challenges of intervention implementation. Furthermore, examination of organizational facilitators and barriers to implementation of evidence-based interventions may inform dissemination in other chronic diseases.
Implementation; Hypertension; Blood pressure control; Organization
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.
Realist synthesis; Evidence-informed health care; Change agency; Facilitators; Opinion leaders; Knowledge brokers’ knowledge utilization
The Implementation Research Institute (IRI) provides two years of training in mental health implementation science for 10 new fellows each year. The IRI is supported by a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) R25 grant and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Fellows attend two annual week-long trainings at Washington University in St. Louis. Training is provided through a rigorous curriculum, local and national mentoring, a ‘learning site visit’ to a federally funded implementation research project, pilot research, and grant writing.
This paper describes the rationale, components, outcomes to date, and participant experiences with IRI.
IRI outcomes include 31 newly trained implementation researchers, their new grant proposals, contributions to other national dissemination and implementation research training, and publications in implementation science authored by the Core Faculty and fellows. Former fellows have obtained independent research funding in implementation science and are beginning to serve as mentors for more junior investigators.
Based on the number of implementation research grant proposals and papers produced by fellows to date, the IRI is proving successful in preparing new researchers who can inform the process of making evidence-based mental healthcare more available through real-world settings of care and who are advancing the field of implementation science.
Dissemination research; Implementation research; Training; Translational research
A realist synthesis attempts to provide policy makers with a transferable theory that suggests a certain program is more or less likely to work in certain respects, for particular subjects, in specific kinds of situations. Yet realist reviews can require considerable and sustained investment over time, which does not always suit the time-sensitive demands of many policy decisions. ‘Rapid Realist Review’ methodology (RRR) has been developed as a tool for applying a realist approach to a knowledge synthesis process in order to produce a product that is useful to policy makers in responding to time-sensitive and/or emerging issues, while preserving the core elements of realist methodology.
Using examples from completed RRRs, we describe key features of the RRR methodology, the resources required, and the strengths and limitations of the process. All aspects of an RRR are guided by both a local reference group, and a group of content experts. Involvement of knowledge users and external experts ensures both the usability of the review products, as well as their links to current practice.
RRRs have proven useful in providing evidence for and making explicit what is known on a given topic, as well as articulating where knowledge gaps may exist. From the RRRs completed to date, findings broadly adhere to four (often overlapping) classifications: guiding rules for policy-making; knowledge quantification (i.e., the amount of literature available that identifies context, mechanisms, and outcomes for a given topic); understanding tensions/paradoxes in the evidence base; and, reinforcing or refuting beliefs and decisions taken.
‘Traditional’ realist reviews and RRRs have some key differences, which allow policy makers to apply each type of methodology strategically to maximize its utility within a particular local constellation of history, goals, resources, politics and environment. In particular, the RRR methodology is explicitly designed to engage knowledge users and review stakeholders to define the research questions, and to streamline the review process. In addition, results are presented with a focus on context-specific explanations for what works within a particular set of parameters rather than producing explanations that are potentially transferrable across contexts and populations. For policy makers faced with making difficult decisions in short time frames for which there is sufficient (if limited) published/research and practice-based evidence available, RRR provides a practical, outcomes-focused knowledge synthesis method.
Realist review; Rapid review; Evidence synthesis; Health policy
Translating knowledge from research into clinical practice has emerged as a practice of increasing importance. This has led to the creation of new organizational entities designed to bridge knowledge between research and practice. Within the UK, the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) have been introduced to ensure that emphasis is placed in ensuring research is more effectively translated and implemented in clinical practice. Knowledge translation (KT) can be accomplished in various ways and is affected by the structures, activities, and coordination practices of organizations. We draw on concepts in the innovation literature—namely exploration, exploitation, and ambidexterity—to examine these structures and activities as well as the ensuing tensions between research and implementation.
Using a qualitative research approach, the study was based on 106 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with the directors, theme leads and managers, key professionals involved in research and implementation in nine CLAHRCs. Data was also collected from intensive focus group workshops.
In this article we develop five archetypes for organizing KT. The results show how the various CLAHRC entities work through partnerships to create explorative research and deliver exploitative implementation. The different archetypes highlight a range of structures that can achieve ambidextrous balance as they organize activity and coordinate practice on a continuum of exploration and exploitation.
This work suggests that KT entities aim to reach their goals through a balance between exploration and exploitation in the support of generating new research and ensuring knowledge implementation. We highlight different organizational archetypes that support various ways to maintain ambidexterity, where both exploration and exploitation are supported in an attempt to narrow the knowledge gaps. The KT entity archetypes offer insights on strategies in structuring collaboration to facilitate an effective balance of exploration and exploitation learning in the KT process.
Knowledge translation; Exploration; Exploitation; Ambidexterity; Collaboration; Research implementation; Absorptive capacity; Innovation