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Health Services Research & Development

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2008 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract

National Meeting 2008

2004 — Strengths and Challenges of an Action Research Approach in Implementing New Clinical Practices

Sullivan JL (Center for Organization, Leadership, & Management Research (COLMR)), Engle RL (COLMR), Petzel R (VA Midwest Healthcare Network ), VanDeusen Lukas C (COLMR)

Workshop Objectives:
To introduce and explore an approach for conducting rigorous implementation and management research to test theories in actual practice. This approach, sometimes called action research, includes methods for conducting intervention research that consistently introduce a new practice while tailoring it to the needs and structure of each site. The inquiry reflects on the social systems being changed and identifies factors that affect the change process within the larger system. An important element is collaboration between researchers and medical center staff. By the end of the workshop, participants will understand the key features of the approach and strategies for meeting the challenges it entails.

Using a currently-funded HSR&D project as a case study, the workshop will examine the strengths and challenges of this research approach. The faculty will include both researchers and managers involved in the study. The case project is designed to introduce and evaluate a model for strengthening an organization’s ability to implement innovative and evidence-based new practices. The model posits that implementation of new practices will be facilitated by: strong leadership commitment; an active front-line redesign team; and management structures that align, support, and hold accountable the redesign efforts. Workshop faculty will present examples from this project and encourage extensive discussion of the value and challenges of this research approach including: 1) engagement of leadership and staff in the project and collaborating with them to tailor the intervention to each site while retaining the core elements of the model being tested; 2) creating venues for collaboration and shared learning across medical centers at the levels of both leadership and front-line redesign teams; 3) measuring implementation, both in terms of determining fidelity and process; 4) developing of measures of performance that meet both local management and redesign needs and researcher needs; 5) maintaining the scientific integrity of the research; 6) managing the dual roles of researcher and change facilitator.

Target Audience:
Health services researchers and managers

Assumed Audience Familiarity with Topic:
Basic knowledge of research design and analysis

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