Implementation strategies: recommendations for specifying and reporting
Implementation strategies have unparalleled importance in implementation science, as they constitute the 'how to' component of changing healthcare practice. Yet, implementation researchers and other stakeholders are not able to fully utilize the findings of studies focusing on implementation strategies because they are often inconsistently labelled and poorly described, are rarely justified theoretically, lack operational definitions or manuals to guide their use, and are part of 'packaged'
... oaches whose specific elements are poorly understood. We address the challenges of specifying and reporting implementation strategies encountered by researchers who design, conduct, and report research on implementation strategies. Specifically, we propose guidelines for naming, defining, and operationalizing implementation strategies in terms of seven dimensions: actor, the action, action targets, temporality, dose, implementation outcomes addressed, and theoretical justification. Ultimately, implementation strategies cannot be used in practice or tested in research without a full description of their components and how they should be used. As with all intervention research, their descriptions must be precise enough to enable measurement and 'reproducibility. ' We propose these recommendations to improve the reporting of implementation strategies in research studies and to stimulate further identification of elements pertinent to implementation strategies that should be included in reporting guidelines for implementation strategies.