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      The struggle of translating science into action: Foundational concepts of implementation science

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          Abstract

          Rationale, aims, and objectives

          “Implementation science,” the scientific study of methods translating research findings into practical, useful outcomes, is contested and complex, with unpredictable use of results from routine clinical practice and different levels of continuing assessment of implementable interventions. The authors aim to reveal how implementation science is presented and understood in health services research contexts and clarify the foundational concepts: diffusion, dissemination, implementation, adoption, and sustainability, to progress knowledge in the field.

          Method

          Implementation science models, theories, and frameworks are critiqued, and their value for laying the groundwork from which to implement a study's findings is emphasised. The paper highlights the challenges of turning research findings into practical outcomes that can be successfully implemented and the need for support from change agents, to ensure improvements to health care provision, health systems, and policy. The paper examines how researchers create implementation plans and what needs to be considered for study outputs to lead to sustainable interventions. This aspect needs clear planning, underpinned by appropriate theoretical paradigms that rigorously respond to a study's aims and objectives.

          Conclusion

          Researchers might benefit from a return to first principles in implementation science, whereby applications that result from research endeavours are both effective and readily disseminated and where interventions can be supported by appropriate health care personnel. These should be people specifically identified to promote change in service organisation, delivery, and policy that can be systematically evaluated over time, to ensure high‐quality, long‐term improvements to patients' health.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Evaluating the successful implementation of evidence into practice using the PARiHS framework: theoretical and practical challenges

          Background The PARiHS framework (Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services) has proved to be a useful practical and conceptual heuristic for many researchers and practitioners in framing their research or knowledge translation endeavours. However, as a conceptual framework it still remains untested and therefore its contribution to the overall development and testing of theory in the field of implementation science is largely unquantified. Discussion This being the case, the paper provides an integrated summary of our conceptual and theoretical thinking so far and introduces a typology (derived from social policy analysis) used to distinguish between the terms conceptual framework, theory and model – important definitional and conceptual issues in trying to refine theoretical and methodological approaches to knowledge translation. Secondly, the paper describes the next phase of our work, in particular concentrating on the conceptual thinking and mapping that has led to the generation of the hypothesis that the PARiHS framework is best utilised as a two-stage process: as a preliminary (diagnostic and evaluative) measure of the elements and sub-elements of evidence (E) and context (C), and then using the aggregated data from these measures to determine the most appropriate facilitation method. The exact nature of the intervention is thus determined by the specific actors in the specific context at a specific time and place. In the process of refining this next phase of our work, we have had to consider the wider issues around the use of theories to inform and shape our research activity; the ongoing challenges of developing robust and sensitive measures; facilitation as an intervention for getting research into practice; and finally to note how the current debates around evidence into practice are adopting wider notions that fit innovations more generally. Summary The paper concludes by suggesting that the future direction of the work on the PARiHS framework is to develop a two-stage diagnostic and evaluative approach, where the intervention is shaped and moulded by the information gathered about the specific situation and from participating stakeholders. In order to expedite the generation of new evidence and testing of emerging theories, we suggest the formation of an international research implementation science collaborative that can systematically collect and analyse experiences of using and testing the PARiHS framework and similar conceptual and theoretical approaches. We also recommend further refinement of the definitions around conceptual framework, theory, and model, suggesting a wider discussion that embraces multiple epistemological and ontological perspectives.
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            Making sense of implementation theories, models and frameworks

            Background Implementation science has progressed towards increased use of theoretical approaches to provide better understanding and explanation of how and why implementation succeeds or fails. The aim of this article is to propose a taxonomy that distinguishes between different categories of theories, models and frameworks in implementation science, to facilitate appropriate selection and application of relevant approaches in implementation research and practice and to foster cross-disciplinary dialogue among implementation researchers. Discussion Theoretical approaches used in implementation science have three overarching aims: describing and/or guiding the process of translating research into practice (process models); understanding and/or explaining what influences implementation outcomes (determinant frameworks, classic theories, implementation theories); and evaluating implementation (evaluation frameworks). Summary This article proposes five categories of theoretical approaches to achieve three overarching aims. These categories are not always recognized as separate types of approaches in the literature. While there is overlap between some of the theories, models and frameworks, awareness of the differences is important to facilitate the selection of relevant approaches. Most determinant frameworks provide limited “how-to” support for carrying out implementation endeavours since the determinants usually are too generic to provide sufficient detail for guiding an implementation process. And while the relevance of addressing barriers and enablers to translating research into practice is mentioned in many process models, these models do not identify or systematically structure specific determinants associated with implementation success. Furthermore, process models recognize a temporal sequence of implementation endeavours, whereas determinant frameworks do not explicitly take a process perspective of implementation.
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              Individual determinants of research utilization by nurses: a systematic review update

              Background Interventions that have a better than random chance of increasing nurses' use of research are important to the delivery of quality patient care. However, few reports exist of successful research utilization in nursing interventions. Systematic identification and evaluation of individual characteristics associated with and predicting research utilization may inform the development of research utilization interventions. Objective To update the evidence published in a previous systematic review on individual characteristics influencing research utilization by nurses. Methods As part of a larger systematic review on research utilization instruments, 12 online bibliographic databases were searched. Hand searching of specialized journals and an ancestry search was also conducted. Randomized controlled trials, clinical trials, and observational study designs examining the association between individual characteristics and nurses' use of research were eligible for inclusion. Studies were limited to those published in the English, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian languages. A vote counting approach to data synthesis was taken. Results A total of 42,770 titles were identified, of which 501 were retrieved. Of these 501 articles, 45 satisfied our inclusion criteria. Articles assessed research utilization in general (n = 39) or kinds of research utilization (n = 6) using self-report survey measures. Individual nurse characteristics were classified according to six categories: beliefs and attitudes, involvement in research activities, information seeking, education, professional characteristics, and socio-demographic/socio-economic characteristics. A seventh category, critical thinking, emerged in studies examining kinds of research utilization. Positive relationships, at statistically significant levels, for general research utilization were found in four categories: beliefs and attitudes, information seeking, education, and professional characteristics. The only characteristic assessed in a sufficient number of studies and with consistent findings for the kinds of research utilization was attitude towards research; this characteristic had a positive association with instrumental and overall research utilization. Conclusions This review reinforced conclusions in the previous review with respect to positive relationships between general research utilization and: beliefs and attitudes, and current role. Furthermore, attending conferences/in-services, having a graduate degree in nursing, working in a specialty area, and job satisfaction were also identified as individual characteristics important to research utilization. While these findings hold promise as potential targets of future research utilization interventions, there were methodological problems inherent in many of the studies that necessitate their findings be replicated in further research using more robust study designs and multivariate assessment methods.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Professorfrances.rapport@mq.edu.au
                Role: Research Fellow
                Role: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
                Role: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
                Role: Research Fellow
                Role: Professor
                Journal
                J Eval Clin Pract
                J Eval Clin Pract
                10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2753
                JEP
                Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                1356-1294
                1365-2753
                31 March 2017
                February 2018
                : 24
                : 1 , 2018 EBM Thematic ( doiID: 10.1111/jep.2018.24.issue-1 )
                : 117-126
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ] Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, Australian Institute of Health Innovation Macquarie University Australia
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence

                Professor Frances Rapport, Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, Level 6, 75 Talavera Rd, Macquarie University 2109, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

                Email: frances.rapport@ 123456mq.edu.au

                Article
                JEP12741 JECP-2016-0402.R2
                10.1111/jep.12741
                5901403
                28371050
                © 2017 The Authors Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

                This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 0, Pages: 10, Words: 0
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: National Health and Medical Research Council
                Award ID: APP1054146
                Categories
                Original Article
                Original Articles
                Custom metadata
                2.0
                jep12741
                February 2018
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_NLMPMC version:version=5.3.4 mode:remove_FC converted:16.04.2018

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