By Cara C. Lewis, PhD, MacColl Center Associate Investigator. Dr. Lewis is a clinical psychologist whose research seeks to identify how providers and care teams can optimize patient outcomes by leveraging data and the best available evidence.  Dr. Lewis will serve as a keynote speaker at #GEIS2018.

Implementation is a challenging feat.  It doesn’t matter the field or area in which you’re working – it’s tough to do, and it’s tough to explain.   How do research findings or evidence-based practices become part of the real world?  

It’s especially important to directly face these issues within the realms of social services, health care, and child welfare. I invite policy stakeholders to generate solutions this October at The Global Evidence and Implementation Summit (GEIS 2018):  let’s figure out how we can use evidence when making decisions that impact our communities, and let’s talk about how the science of implementation can support those decisions.   

My keynote message in Melbourne will be how to engage in evidence-based decision making all the way from front-line providers to policymakers, with a focus on creating better measures to evaluate and inform our efforts.   

Start with strong measures 
Making a real-world difference begins with the way that we assess impact in health services arenas.  Measures are used in many clinical practices to evaluate outcomes of interest including impact of implementation, but the usefulness of the data they generate hinges on how good those measures are.  This is a sticking point because most of these measures are not evidence-based.  They’re created by good people with good intentions, but many principles from measure development are neglected, so it’s not possible to know that these measures are evaluating what they’re intended to. I don’t see this as a heavy lift, though it does represent a shift in perspective and process.   Quality measures don’t have to be hard to develop or painful to administer for use in real-world settings.  

Stop creating practices that won’t work in real-world settings
Too many care models intended to address pressing problems are generated in ivory towers disconnected from the real world. We need to better understand how and to whom solutions are intended to be delivered.  This means carefully assessing the context using quality measures, and paying closer attention to the implementation process.  

Carefully select implementation strategies and measure their impact
And we’re not done once we design an intervention to fit the context.  Implementing new practices often requires selecting and tailoring strategies to address barriers in different settings. This can be done if pragmatic measures exist to help us understand in real time (or close to real time) what may be undermining implementation. We need to carefully assess the context using quality measures and pay closer attention to the implementation process so that we have a winning chance to truly help patients.  

Attendees at GEIS 2018 can learn the latest thinking from implementation scientists and be exposed to innovative methods to bring back to their own practice setting or research.  It’s also a great networking opportunity.

The Global Evidence and Implementation Summit's overarching theme is evidence, synthesis and implementation: creating impact for stronger communities around the world.  There are five core sub-themes: 

  • Understanding what works
  • Achieving scale and sustainability
  • Methods for impact and implementation evaluation and synthesis
  • Using evidence for better policy, programs and practice
  • National and global cooperation and partnerships

GEIS 2018 will be held October 22-24, 2018 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.  It is being co-hosted by the Campbell Collaboration and the Centre for Evidence and Implementation. The summit combines their two prominent conferences: the 4th Australasian Implementation Conference and the What Works Global Summit 2018. 

I’m really looking forward to learning from a diverse range of key stakeholders in Melbourne this fall.  I hope you’ll join the conversation.

Register for The Global Evidence and Implementation Summit 2018 (early bird registration closes August 26th)