Absorptive capacity in the adoption of innovations in health care: a scoping review protocol

JBI Evid Synth. 2021 Jun;19(6):1452-1471. doi: 10.11124/JBIES-20-00218.


Objective: To explore how absorptive capacity has been conceptualized and measured in studies of innovation adoption in health care organizations.

Introduction: Current literature highlights the need to incorporate knowledge translation processes at the organizational and system level to enhance the adoption of new knowledge into practice. Absorptive capacity is a set of routines and processes characterized by knowledge acquisition, assimilation, transformation, and application. Absorptive capacity, a key concept in organizational learning theory, is thought to be critical to the adoption of new knowledge and innovations in organizations.

Inclusion criteria: This scoping review will include primary studies (ie, experimental, quasi-experimental, observational, and qualitative study designs) and gray literature that broadly focus on the adoption of innovations at the organizational level in health care, and frame innovation adoption as processes that rely on organizational learning and absorptive or learning capacity.

Methods: Data sources will include comprehensive searches of electronic databases (eg, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Scopus), gray literature, and reference scanning of relevant studies. Study abstracts and full texts will be screened for eligibility by two reviewers, independently. Data extraction of relevant studies will also be done independently by two reviewers. All discrepancies will be addressed through further discussion or adjudicated by a third reviewer. Synthesis of the extracted data will focus on descriptive frequencies, counts, and thematic analysis and the results will be reported using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Health Facilities*
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Organizations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic

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