Use of Concept Mapping to Characterize Relationships Among Implementation Strategies and Assess Their Feasibility and Importance

Results from the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) Study

Published in: Implementation Science, v.10, no. 109, Aug. 2015, p. 1-8

Posted on RAND.org on September 25, 2015

by Thomas J. Waltz, Byron J. Powell, Monica M. Matthieu, Laura J. Damschroder, Matthew Chinman, Jeffrey Smith, Enola Proctor, JoAnn E. Kirchner

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BACKGROUND: Poor terminological consistency for core concepts in implementation science has been widely noted as an obstacle to effective meta-analyses. This inconsistency is also a barrier for those seeking guidance from the research literature when developing and planning implementation initiatives. The Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) study aims to address one area of terminological inconsistency: discrete implementation strategies involving one process or action used to support a practice change. The present report is on the second stage of the ERIC project that focuses on providing initial validation of the compilation of 73 implementation strategies that were identified in the first phase. FINDINGS: Purposive sampling was used to recruit a panel of experts in implementation science and clinical practice (N = 35). These key stakeholders used concept mapping sorting and rating activities to place the 73 implementation strategies into similar groups and to rate each strategy's relative importance and feasibility. Multidimensional scaling analysis provided a quantitative representation of the relationships among the strategies, all but one of which were found to be conceptually distinct from the others. Hierarchical cluster analysis supported organizing the 73 strategies into 9 categories. The ratings data reflect those strategies identified as the most important and feasible. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides initial validation of the implementation strategies within the ERIC compilation as being conceptually distinct. The categorization and strategy ratings of importance and feasibility may facilitate the search for, and selection of, strategies that are best suited for implementation efforts in a particular setting.

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