Estabrooks March Blog-A guide to scaling up population health interventions

April 11, 2016 – This week, Dr. Estabrooks on “A guide to scaling up population health interventions” by Milat et al.

Research to practice translational models often focus on a unidirectional pathway—researchers develop evidence-based interventions with a goal that practitioners will adopt and implement those interventions with high fidelity. However, the movement to integrated practice partnership and the acknowledgement that practice professionals have both explicit and tacit knowledge related to ‘what works’ for their patients and settings—it is important to understand that there are many things that can be translated from practice to research.

The recent article by Milat and colleagues, is a great example of this. They share a guide to increasing the scale of population health interventions developed by the New South Wales Ministry of Health. It includes practical steps for health professionals in clinical and community settings and, as Milat et al highlight:

“The guide can also be used by researchers in the design of research studies that may be suitable for scaling up. For example, step 1 could be used to identify research gaps and to guide researchers towards seeking funding to address such gaps. Similarly, it may be used to assist researchers to present intervention research findings, thus providing the information necessary for health practitioners and policy makers to assess the scalability of an intervention. In addition, the later stages of the guide can be used by researchers to identify opportunities for partnering with evaluation and monitoring efforts when interventions are scaled up.”

The article is well worth the read and you can see the implications from a RE-AIM perspective as well. Finally, I really liked that they provided sound definitions of scale-up and scalability.

Happy implementing!

Nithya Ramalingam and the RE-AIM Workgroup