Panel Paper: The Role of Implementation Science in Meeting Global Challenges in a Changing World

Friday, November 7, 2014 : 1:30 PM
Grand Pavilion II-III (Hyatt)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Bianca Albers, University of Melbourne
Over the past decade, researchers, practitioners and policy makers have paid increasing attention to the role of implementation in improving outcomes for consumers.  This focus has resulted in the development of many implementation frameworks across content and methodological areas.  This progress has led to greater awareness of the importance of implementation and increased use of implementation science for improving service delivery.  However, there is also confusion among key stakeholder groups on the purpose, utility, and relevance of specific frameworks to address specific challenges related to policy, practice and research.  Further, there has been limited exchange between those conducting policy implementation research and those building the science and practice of implementation within health and human services (Nilsen, Stahl, Roback, & Kairney, 2013).  The purpose of this paper presentation is to: 1) draw the landscape of the human services implementation field; 2) elaborate on the role of implementation science in scaling and sustaining effective approaches for collective impact on a global level; and 3) discuss how implementation science can be applied in a complex and changing policy environment. Below we describe these three purposes in more detail.

The Landscape of Human Services Implementation

This paper will synthesize major findings and components from over 30 published implementation frameworks.  The synthesis will include: 1) identification of major components from each framework (e.g., readiness, stages, implementation teams, inner and outer context); 2) identification of the purpose and application of different frameworks (e.g., research, theory, technical assistance); and 3) gaps or weaknesses across frameworks (i.e., areas that need to be addressed further by the field).

The Role of Implementation Science in Achieving Collective Impact in Global Context

Achieving collective and social impact will require a systematic approach to: 1) develop shared objectives for creating contexts hospitable to evidence-based programs and innovations; and 2) build the capacity of key stakeholder groups to develop and institutionalize the infrastructure needed for the full and effective use of innovations (Fixsen et. al, 2009). This paper will discuss the transformative and incremental changes that will need to be made by key stakeholder groups – funders, policy-makers, program developers, researchers, and service providers – in order to co-create the visible infrastructure needed to support effective implementation of evidence-based programs and innovations (Metz & Albers, 2014).

The Application of Implementation Science in Complex, Changing Policy Environment

This paper will address how implementation science can help to provide a framework for policymakers to use in the midst of chaotic environments where economic and social priorities are shifting.  It has been said that implementation frameworks can help policymakers go from “making lists” to “making sense” – a critical pursuit in the complex and ambiguous political context (Aberbach & Christiansen, 2013).