Working with HIV clinics to adopt addiction treatment using implementation facilitation (WHAT-IF?): Rationale and design for a hybrid type 3 effectiveness-implementation study

Contemp Clin Trials. 2020 Sep 23;98:106156. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2020.106156. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: Tobacco, alcohol and opioid misuse are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality among people with HIV (PWH). Despite existence of evidence-based counseling and medications for addiction, these treatments are infrequently offered in HIV clinics. The Working with HIV clinics to adopt Addiction Treatment using Implementation Facilitation (WHAT-IF?) study was conducted to address this implementation challenge. The study's goals were to conduct a formative evaluation of barriers to and facilitators of implementing addiction treatment for PWH followed by an evaluation of the impact of Implementation Facilitation (IF) on promoting adoption of addiction treatments and clinical outcomes.

Methods: The study was conducted at four HIV clinics in the northeast United States, using a hybrid type 3 effectiveness-implementation stepped wedge design and guided by the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services Research (PARiHS) framework. A mixed-methods approach was used to identify evidence, context, and facilitation-related barriers to and facilitators of integration of addiction treatments into HIV clinics and to help tailor IF for each clinic. An evaluation was then conducted of the impact of IF on implementation outcomes, including provision of addiction treatment (primary outcome), organizational and clinician and staff readiness to adopt addiction treatment, and changes in organizational models of care used to deliver addiction treatment. The evaluation also included IF's impact on effectiveness outcomes, specifically HIV-related outcomes among patients eligible for addiction treatment.

Conclusions: Results will generate important information regarding the impact of IF as a reproducible strategy to promote addiction treatment in HIV clinics.

Keywords: HIV; Hybrid design; Implementation science; Substance-related disorders.