Implementing immediate postpartum contraception: a comparative case study at 11 hospitals

Implement Sci Commun. 2021 Apr 12;2(1):42. doi: 10.1186/s43058-021-00136-7.


Background: Immediate postpartum long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is an evidence-based practice, but hospitals face significant barriers to its adoption. Our objective was to examine how organizational context (e.g., size, employee attitudes toward the clinical practice) and implementation strategies (i.e., the actions taken to routinize a clinical practice) drive successful implementation of immediate postpartum LARC services, with a goal of informing the design of future implementation interventions.

Methods: We conducted a comparative case study of the implementation of inpatient postpartum contraceptive care at 11 US maternity hospitals. In 2017-2018, we conducted site visits that included semi-structured key informant interviews informed by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. Qualitative measures of implementation success included stakeholder satisfaction, routinization, and sustainability of immediate postpartum LARC services. Qualitative content analysis and cross-case synthesis explored relationships among organizational context, implementation strategies, and implementation success.

Results: We completed semi-structured interviews with 78 clinicians, nurses, residents, pharmacy and revenue cycle staff, and hospital administrators. Successful implementation required three essential conditions: effective implementation champions, an enabling financial environment, and hospital administrator engagement. Six other contextual conditions were influential: trust and effective communication, alignment with stakeholders' professional values, perception of meeting patients' needs, robust learning climate, compatibility with workflow, and positive attitudes and adequate knowledge about the clinical practice. On average, sites used 18 (range 11-22) strategies. Strategies to optimize the financial environment and train clinicians and staff were commonly used. Strategies to plan and evaluate implementation and to engage patients emerged as promising to address barriers to practice change, yet were often underused.

Conclusions: Implementation efforts in maternity settings may be more successful if they select strategies to optimize local conditions for success. Our findings elucidate key contextual conditions to target and provide a menu of promising implementation strategies for incorporating recommended contraceptive services into routine maternity practice. Additional prospective research should evaluate whether these strategies effectively optimize local conditions for successful implementation in a variety of settings.

Keywords: Contraception; Implementation; Long-acting reversible contraception; Maternity; Perinatal; Postpartum; Qualitative.