Intensification of implementation strategies: Developing a model of foundational and enhanced implementation approaches to support national adoption and scale-up

Gerontologist. 2022 Aug 27;gnac130. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnac130. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Implementation strategies are activities to support integration of evidence-based programs (EBPs) into routine care. Comprised of 170+ facilities, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System is conducive to evaluating feasibility and scalability of implementation strategies on a national level. In previous work evaluating implementation of three EBPs for older Veterans (hospital-based walking, caregiver skills training, group physical therapy), we found facilities varied in their need for implementation support, with some needing minimal guidance and others requiring intensive support. Committed to national scalability, our team developed an implementation intensification model consisting of foundational (low-touch) and enhanced (high-touch) implementation support. This Forum article describes our multi-level and multi-step process to develop and evaluate implementation intensification. Steps included: (1) Review completed trial data; (2) Conduct listening sessions; (3) Review literature; (4) Draft foundational and enhanced implementation support packages; (5) Iteratively refine packages; and, (6) Devise an evaluation plan. Our model of implementation intensification may be relevant to other healthcare systems seeking strategies that can adapt to diverse delivery settings, optimize resources, help build capacity, and ultimately enhance implementation outcomes. As more healthcare systems focus on spread of EBPs into routine care, identifying scalable and effective implementation strategies will be critical.

Keywords: Facilitation; Function; Implementation strategies; Scalability; Veterans.