We are a group of researchers interested in how best to ‘implement’ evidence-based interventions and practice, as well as research findings, within health services to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes and experience.
Central to our work is the CUSTOMISE (Comparing and Understanding Tailoring Methods for Implementation Strategies) project, led by Dr Sheena McHugh and funded by the HRB Research Leader Award. Our aim is to build knowledge and expertise in implementation science through research, collaboration, and training. We want to improve the uptake of research evidence in healthcare and to look at ways to address the evidence-to-practice gap.
What is Implementation Science?
Implementation science is “…the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice and, hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services” (Eccles and Mittman 2006). One of the most pressing and difficult questions facing health systems around the world is how do we implement effective changes in everyday healthcare in a way that is acceptable and practical for health professionals and service users? We know from research that there are many things that health systems can do to improve a person’s health, their quality of life and their experience of services. However, health professionals face many barriers when trying to deliver care and so a gap persists between what should happen and what actually happens. This is known as the ‘implementation gap’. Implementation strategies are the methods and techniques we use to help us ensure that what should happen does happen.
Implementation research focuses on two things:
- Identifying barriers and facilitators to the uptake of research findings and evidence at different levels (individuals, providers, organisations).
- Developing and applying implementation strategies that can overcome the barriers and enhance facilitators to increase uptake.
For more information about implementation science more generally or about research priorities within implementation science read Implementation science: What is it and why should I care? and Enhancing the Impact of Implementation Strategies in Healthcare: A Research Agenda.
What do we do?
We carry out research on the implementation of changes in different health and social care settings, for different diseases, and different groups. Our research topics include:
- Integrated care
- Ageing / Older adults
- Chronic disease management
- Primary care
To find out more see our projects page.
Over time, we hope to develop a national implementation research network connecting researchers as well as building links with health professionals, managers and policymakers at local, regional and national levels of the Health Service Executive. These stakeholders will use our results to implement changes in their own settings. The network will build capacity and collaborations in implementation science, becoming an international centre of excellence for implementation science in Ireland. Watch this space!
For more information on our research you can email HIRH@ucc.ie