So you’ve found a program that has great research outcomes (perhaps it is an evidence-based program) and you want to start implementing it in your organization. Just go ahead and start training your staff and you’ll be up and running in no time.
What we know from implementation science is that the above strategy is likely to result in the program not being used as it was designed in research, and not being sustained over time.
Using an evidence-based program in a community setting does not mean that we will see positive outcomes for children and families served by the program. If practitioners do not use the program with “high fidelity” (i.e., the way it was intended and shown to be effective in research and other practice settings) we are not likely to get to positive outcomes for children and families.
At Invest in Kids, we not only look for the best evidence behind the clinical programs that we support in Colorado, we also look to apply the best evidence available to put these programs into practice. Implementation science gives us the evidence we need to be able to support communities in making full and effective use of The Incredible Years® and the Nurse-Family Partnership®.
A few key takeaways in supporting high quality use of programs:
- Readiness is key! Spending time up front to ensure an organization’s readiness for a new program is the number one predictor of getting to a place of sustainability.
- Implementation teams matter. Having just one champion is not a sustainable way to support a program. Ensuring a whole team is on board to bust barriers and ensure a hospitable environment is necessary.
- Training alone will not lead to high quality use of the program. Without coaching after initial training, we know that the program will not likely be used as intended. Ongoing coaching and other implementation supports are needed to support the practitioner.