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Implementation Research (IR) in Health: A Practical Guide

by Public Health Update

Implementation Research (IR) in Health: A Practical Guide

This Guide was developed by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR) with support from the Implementation Research Platform (IRP). The IRP was formed in recognition of the need for reliable, relevant research to inform the implementation of health policies and programmes, and to ensure that needed interventions are made widely available within health systems through effective scale-up. The AHPSR is the host of the IRP Secretariat and leads its work. The AHPSR’s main goal is to promote the generation and use of health policy and systems research as a means to improve health and health systems in low- and middle-income countries.

This guide provide you an in depth knowledge on followings;

Why is research on implementation needed?

  • Despite abundant evidence of the efficacy of affordable, life-saving interventions, there is little understanding of how to deliver those interventions effectively in diverse settings and within the wide range of existing health systems.
  • Implementation issues often arise as a result of contextual factors that policy-makers and health system managers may not even have considered.
  • Implementation research is crucial to improving our understanding of the challenges we face in confronting the real world by broadening and deepening our understanding of these real-world factors and how they impact implementation.
  • Implementation research is of immense value in shining a light on the often bumpy interface between what can be achieved in theory and what happens in practice.

Implementation research should be aligned with need, both in the sense that it addresses the concerns of the intended audience, and is also responsive to the particularities of the subject under study. It is helpful to ask the following key questions;

Does the research clearly address a question concerning implementation?
Is there a clear description of what is being implemented (e.g. details of the practice, programme, or policy)?
Does the research involve an implementation strategy? If so, is it described and examined appropriately?
Is the research conducted in a real-world setting? If so, are these conditions described in sufficient detail?
Does the research appropriately consider implementation outcome variables?
Does the research appropriately consider context and other factors that influence implementation?
Does the research appropriately consider changes over time, and the level of complexity of the system?
Does the research clearly identify the target audience for the research and how it can be used?

How is implementation research used?

  • Implementation research is vital to understanding context, assessing performance, informing implementation and facilitating health systems strengthening.
  • Implementation research is particularly important in supporting the scale-up of interventions and integrating them into health systems at the national level.
  • Implementation research can also be used to help organizations develop the capacity to learn.

What is Implementation Research?

  • Implementation research can address any aspect of implementation, including the factors affecting implementation, the processes of implementation themselves and the outcomes, or end-products of the implementation under study.
  • Implementation research is applicable and relevant in many different domains and, depending on the subject under study, is applicable and relevant to different degrees, with certain research questions being implementation-light and others implementation heavy.
  • Implementation research often focuses on the strategies needed to deliver or implement new interventions, which are referred to as ‘implementation strategies’.
  • In order to understand implementation processes, it is essential to use a framework for conceptualizing and measuring implementation outcomes. Implementation outcome variables are the building blocks of this framework and serve as indicators of how well a given implementation is actually working.

DOWNLOAD PDF FILE: Implementation Research in Health: A Practical Guide

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Implementation Research (IR) Initiative in Nepal

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Feel free to contact;

Sagun Paudel,
HA, BPH, MPH (Implementation Research)
[email protected]

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