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Methodological progress note: Implementation science contributions to healthcare research and practice

Written by: Amy Tyler MD, MSCS, Monica Pérez Jolles PhD
Published on: Aug 3, 2023

Lecturer with pupil
Photo credit: Elnur/ Adobe Stock

Evidence adoption is painfully slow, and the gap between what we know from research and what clinicians and patients practice is vast and has measurable impacts on health. Implementation science works to close this gap. As defined by the National Institutes of Health, implementation science is the scientific study of the use of strategies to increase the uptake of evidence-based health interventions in clinical settings to improve service delivery and patient outcomes.1 By itself, informing clinicians and patients of clinical research findings will not improve health. Implementation science is needed to understand how to change health-related practices and improve health. Along the research continuum, efficacy research informs “what” works; effectiveness research identifies “for whom” it works; and implementation science informs “the process” for integrating what works into practice. Understanding the evidence integration process ideally begins early in the research continuum. Therefore, it is of great value for researchers and clinicians to have a fundamental understanding of implementation science.

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