Background: To achieve widespread cancer control, a better understanding is needed of the factors that contribute to successful implementation of effective skin cancer prevention interventions. This study assessed the relative contributions of individual- and setting-level characteristics to implementation of a widely disseminated skin cancer prevention program.
Methods: A multilevel analysis was conducted using data from the Pool Cool Diffusion Trial from 2004 and replicated with data from 2005. Implementation of Pool Cool by lifeguards was measured using a composite score (implementation variable, range 0 to 10) that assessed whether the lifeguard performed different components of the intervention. Predictors included lifeguard background characteristics, lifeguard sun protection-related attitudes and behaviors, pool characteristics, and enhanced (i.e., more technical assistance, tailored materials, and incentives are provided) versus basic treatment group.
Results: The mean value of the implementation variable was 4 in both years (2004 and 2005; SD = 2 in 2004 and SD = 3 in 2005) indicating a moderate implementation for most lifeguards. Several individual-level (lifeguard characteristics) and setting-level (pool characteristics and treatment group) factors were found to be significantly associated with implementation of Pool Cool by lifeguards. All three lifeguard-level domains (lifeguard background characteristics, lifeguard sun protection-related attitudes and behaviors) and six pool-level predictors (number of weekly pool visitors, intervention intensity, geographic latitude, pool location, sun safety and/or skin cancer prevention programs, and sun safety programs and policies) were included in the final model. The most important predictors of implementation were the number of weekly pool visitors (inverse association) and enhanced treatment group (positive association). That is, pools with fewer weekly visitors and pools in the enhanced treatment group had significantly higher program implementation in both 2004 and 2005.
Conclusions: More intense, theory-driven dissemination strategies led to higher levels of implementation of this effective skin cancer prevention program. Issues to be considered by practitioners seeking to implement evidence-based programs in community settings, include taking into account both individual-level and setting-level factors, using active implementation approaches, and assessing local needs to adapt intervention materials.