Implementation Science in the Military Health System

It can take nearly two decades for an evidence-based intervention to be used in clinical care, according to an article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine that studied time lags in translational research.

What is Implementation Science?

Implementation science (IS) is the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings into routine clinical care. The principles of IS help researchers and health care systems, such as the Military Health System (MHS), examine what interventions work, for whom they work, and under what conditions they work. IS can also help determine how interventions can be adapted and scaled up or down to improve their accessibility and equitability to improve the overall quality and efficiency of health care delivery.

How does IS improve health care in the MHS?

Patients, providers, researchers, and health care leaders play an important role in evaluating and improving the use of evidence-based practices in the MHS. Their feedback about the effectiveness and usability of an innovation can help implementation experts select and apply strategies to improve the quality of health care and inform the development of more effective and usable clinical practices, programs, and policies.

Learn how IS helps stakeholders use research-based knowledge to improve health care quality in the MHS:

  • Patients who are engaged are critical to the development and delivery of quality health care. By providing timely and constructive feedback about their experiences with an intervention, patients can help researchers, implementation experts, and health care leaders improve the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of the health services they receive.

  • Providers  can help implementation experts improve the usability of an intervention by providing feedback about the circumstances that help and hinder the adoption of the intervention in their clinical settings. This feedback helps implementation experts identify strategies to help providers overcome the challenges to using an intervention and effectively provide the best care to their patients.

  • Researchers an spend years developing innovations that are not adopted in routine clinical care, even when the evidence proves it is highly effective. Experts in implementation science can help researchers apply research designs that evaluate the effectiveness of an innovation while also determining the strategies that maximize its use in clinical practice.

  • Health care leaders can use the principles of IS to identify strategic solutions to implementation challenges in complex and dynamic environments that are often also resource-constrained, thereby developing policies and procedures and implementing evidence-based practices in a cost-effective and efficient manner that will improve the quality of the health care they deliver.