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This article is part of the Research Topic

Methods and Applications in Implementation Science

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Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00003

Enhancing the Impact of Implementation Strategies in Healthcare: A Research Agenda

 Byron J. Powell1, 2, 3*,  Maria E. Fernandez4, Nathaniel J. Williams5, Gregory A. Aarons6,  Rinad S. Beidas7, 8, 9, Cara C. Lewis10, Sheena M. McHugh11 and  Bryan J. Weiner12
  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
  • 2Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
  • 3Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
  • 4Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, United States
  • 5School of Social Work, College of Health Sciences, Boise State University, United States
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, United States
  • 7Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, United States
  • 8Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, United States
  • 9Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, United States
  • 10MacColl Center for Healthcare Innovation, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, United States
  • 11School of Public Health, University College Cork, United States
  • 12Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of Washington, United States

The field of implementation science was developed to better understand the factors that facilitate or impede implementation and generate evidence for implementation strategies. In this article, we briefly review progress in implementation science, and suggest five priorities for enhancing the impact of implementation strategies. Specifically, we suggest the need to: 1) enhance methods for designing and tailoring implementation strategies; 2) specify and test mechanisms of change; 3) conduct more effectiveness research on discrete, multi-faceted, and tailored implementation strategies; 4) increase economic evaluations of implementation strategies; and 5) improve the tracking and reporting of implementation strategies. We believe that pursuing these priorities will advance implementation science by helping us to understand when, where, why, and how implementation strategies improve implementation effectiveness and subsequent health outcomes.

Keywords: Implementation strategies, implementation science, research priorities, Mechanism, tailoring

Received: 16 Oct 2018; Accepted: 04 Jan 2019.

Edited by:

Mary E. Northridge, Langone Medical Center, New York University, United States

Reviewed by:

Deborah Paone, Independent researcher
Christopher M. Maylahn, New York State Department of Health, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Powell, Fernandez, Williams, Aarons, Beidas, Lewis, McHugh and Weiner. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Byron J. Powell, Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, United States, bjpowell@unc.edu