Effectiveness-implementation Hybrid Designs: Combining Elements of Clinical Effectiveness and Implementation Research to Enhance Public Health Impact

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Abstract

Objectives:

This study proposes methods for blending design components of clinical effectiveness and implementation research. Such blending can provide benefits over pursuing these lines of research independently; for example, more rapid translational gains, more effective implementation strategies, and more useful information for decision makers. This study proposes a “hybrid effectiveness-implementation” typology, describes a rationale for their use, outlines the design decisions that must be faced, and provides several real-world examples.

Results:

An effectiveness-implementation hybrid design is one that takes a dual focus a priori in assessing clinical effectiveness and implementation. We propose 3 hybrid types: (1) testing effects of a clinical intervention on relevant outcomes while observing and gathering information on implementation; (2) dual testing of clinical and implementation interventions/strategies; and (3) testing of an implementation strategy while observing and gathering information on the clinical intervention’s impact on relevant outcomes.

Conclusions:

The hybrid typology proposed herein must be considered a construct still in evolution. Although traditional clinical effectiveness and implementation trials are likely to remain the most common approach to moving a clinical intervention through from efficacy research to public health impact, judicious use of the proposed hybrid designs could speed the translation of research findings into routine practice.

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