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Ten recommendations for using implementation frameworks in research and practice.

  • Author(s): Moullin, Joanna C
  • Dickson, Kelsey S
  • Stadnick, Nicole A
  • Albers, Bianca
  • Nilsen, Per
  • Broder-Fingert, Sarabeth
  • Mukasa, Barbara
  • Aarons, Gregory A
  • et al.
Abstract

Background

Recent reviews of the use and application of implementation frameworks in implementation efforts highlight the limited use of frameworks, despite the value in doing so. As such, this article aims to provide recommendations to enhance the application of implementation frameworks, for implementation researchers, intermediaries, and practitioners.

Discussion

Ideally, an implementation framework, or multiple frameworks should be used prior to and throughout an implementation effort. This includes both in implementation science research studies and in real-world implementation projects. To guide this application, outlined are ten recommendations for using implementation frameworks across the implementation process. The recommendations have been written in the rough chronological order of an implementation effort; however, we understand these may vary depending on the project or context: (1) select a suitable framework(s), (2) establish and maintain community stakeholder engagement and partnerships, (3) define issue and develop research or evaluation questions and hypotheses, (4) develop an implementation mechanistic process model or logic model, (5) select research and evaluation methods (6) determine implementation factors/determinants, (7) select and tailor, or develop, implementation strategy(s), (8) specify implementation outcomes and evaluate implementation, (9) use a framework(s) at micro level to conduct and tailor implementation, and (10) write the proposal and report. Ideally, a framework(s) would be applied to each of the recommendations. For this article, we begin by discussing each recommendation within the context of frameworks broadly, followed by specific examples using the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, Sustainment (EPIS) framework.

Summary

The use of conceptual and theoretical frameworks provides a foundation from which generalizable implementation knowledge can be advanced. On the contrary, superficial use of frameworks hinders being able to use, learn from, and work sequentially to progress the field. Following the provided ten recommendations, we hope to assist researchers, intermediaries, and practitioners to improve the use of implementation science frameworks.

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