HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Stevenson L, Ball S, Haverhals LM, Aron DC, Lowery J. Evaluation of a national telemedicine initiative in the Veterans Health Administration: Factors associated with successful implementation. Journal of telemedicine and telecare. 2016 Nov 30.
The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research was used to evaluate implementation facilitators and barriers of Specialty Care Access Network-Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO) within the Veterans Health Administration. SCAN-ECHO is a video teleconferencing-based programme where specialist teams train and mentor remotely-located primary care providers in providing routine speciality care for common chronic illnesses. The goal of SCAN-ECHO was to improve access to speciality care for Veterans. The aim of this study was to provide guidance and support for the implementation and spread of SCAN-ECHO.
Semi-structured telephone interviews with 55 key informants (primary care providers, specialists and support staff) were conducted post-implementation with nine sites and analysed using Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research constructs. Data were analysed to distinguish sites based on level of implementation measured by the numbers of SCAN-ECHO sessions. Surveys with all SCAN-ECHO sites further explored implementation information.
Analysis of the interviews revealed three of 14 Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research constructs that distinguished between low and high implementation sites: design quality and packaging; compatibility; and reflecting and evaluating. The survey data generally supported these findings, while also revealing a fourth distinguishing construct - leadership engagement. All sites expressed positive attitudes toward SCAN-ECHO, despite struggling with the complexity of programme implementation.
Recommendations based on the findings include: (a) expend more effort in developing and distributing educational materials; (b) restructure the delivery process to improve programme compatibility; (c) establish an audit and feedback mechanism for monitoring and improving the programme; (d) engage in more upfront planning to reduce complexity; and (e) obtain local leadership support for providing primary care providers with dedicated time for participation.