CENTER-IT: a novel methodology for adapting multi-level interventions using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research-a case example of a school-supervised asthma intervention

Implement Sci Commun. 2022 Mar 26;3(1):33. doi: 10.1186/s43058-022-00283-5.


Background: Implementation science frameworks advise the engagement of multi-level partners (at the patient, provider, and systems level) to adapt and increase the uptake of evidence-based practices (EBPs). However, there is little guidance to ensure that systems-level adaptations reflect the voices of providers who deliver and patients/caregivers who receive EBPs.

Methods: We present a novel methodology, grounded in the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), which anchors the engagement of multi-level partners to the voices of individuals who deliver and receive EBPs. Using the CFIR domains: intervention adaptation, individuals involved, inner/outer setting, and process, we illustrate our 4-step methodology through a case example of Asthma Link, a school-supervised asthma management intervention. In step 1, we interviewed "individuals involved" in the intervention (providers/caregivers/patients of Asthma Link) to identify implementation barriers. In step 2, we selected systems-level partners in the "inner and outer setting" that could assist with addressing these barriers. In step 3, we presented the barriers to these systems-level partners and conducted semi-structured interviews to elicit their recommended solutions (process). Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and open-coded. A theoretical sampling model and deductive reasoning were used to identify solutions to implementation barriers. In step 4, we utilized multi-level input to adapt the Asthma Link intervention.

Results: Identified barriers included inability to obtain two inhalers for home and school use, inconsistent delivery of the inhaler to school by families, and challenges when schools did not have a nurse. Interviews conducted with school/clinic leaders, pharmacists, payors, legislators, and policymakers (n=22) elicited solutions to address provider and patient/caregiver-identified barriers, including (1) establishing a Medicaid-specific pharmacy policy to allow dispensation of two inhalers, (2) utilizing pharmacy-school delivery services to ensure medication reaches schools, and (3) identifying alternate (non-nurse) officials to supervise medication administration. The iterative process of engaging multi-level partners helped to create an adapted Asthma Link intervention, primed for effective implementation.

Conclusions: This novel methodology, grounded in the CFIR, ensures that systems-level changes that require the engagement of multi-level partners reflect the voices of individuals who deliver and receive EBPs. This methodology demonstrates the dynamic interplay of CFIR domains to advance the field of implementation science.

Keywords: Asthma; Deliverer; Evidence-based interventions; Implementation; Multi-level partner engagement; Patient-centered; Recipient; Schools; Stakeholder engagement; Systems-level.