Using a continuum of hybrid effectiveness-implementation studies to put research-tested colorectal screening interventions into practice

Implement Sci. 2019 May 29;14(1):53. doi: 10.1186/s13012-019-0903-5.


Background: Few previous studies have applied the hybrid effectiveness-implementation design framework to illustrate the way in which an intervention was progressively implemented and evaluated across multiple studies in diverse settings.

Methods: We describe the design components and methodologies of three studies that sought to improve rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening using mailed outreach, and apply domains put forth by Curran et al.: research aims, research questions, comparison conditions, sample, evaluation methods, measures, and potential challenges. The Hybrid 1 study (emphasis on effectiveness) was a patient-level randomized trial of a mailed fecal test and stepped phone-outreach intervention program delivered in an integrated healthcare system (21 clinics, 4673 patients). The primary outcome was effectiveness (CRC screening uptake). Implementation outcomes included cost-effectiveness and acceptability. The Hybrid 2 study (shared emphasis on effectiveness and implementation) was a pragmatic cluster-randomized trial of mailed fecal immunochemical test (FIT) outreach implemented at safety net clinics (26 clinics, 41,000 patients). The intervention used electronic health record tools (adapted from Hybrid 1) and clinic personnel to deliver the intervention. Outcomes included effectiveness (FIT completion) and implementation (FIT kits delivered, clinic barriers and facilitators, cost-effectiveness). Hybrid 3 study (emphasis on implementation) is a demonstration project being conducted by two Medicaid/Medicare insurance plans (2 states, 12,000 patients) comparing two strategies for implementing mailed FIT programs that addressed Hybrid 2 implementation barriers. Outcomes include implementation (activities delivered, barriers) and effectiveness (FIT completion).

Results: The effectiveness-implementation typology successfully identified a number of distinguishing features between the three studies. Two additional features, program design and program delivery, varied across our studies, and we propose adding them to the current typology. Program design and program delivery reflect the process by which and by whom a program is designed and delivered (e.g., research staff vs. clinic/health plan staff).

Conclusions: We describe three studies that demonstrate the hybrid effectiveness to implementation continuum and make recommendations for expanding the hybrid typology to include new descriptive features. Additional comparisons of Hybrid 1, 2, and 3 studies may help confirm whether our hybrid typology refinements are generalizable markers of the pipeline from research to practice.

Keywords: Adaptation; Adoption; Colorectal cancer; Comparative effectiveness research/methods; Implementation trial; Scale-up; Screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Occult Blood
  • Postal Service
  • Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design*
  • Telephone