Evaluating the successful implementation of evidence into practice using the PARiHS framework: theoretical and practical challenges

Green College, University of Oxford, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HG, UK.
Implementation Science (Impact Factor: 3.47). 02/2008; 3:1. DOI: 10.1186/1748-5908-3-1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The PARiHS framework (Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services) has proved to be a useful practical and conceptual heuristic for many researchers and practitioners in framing their research or knowledge translation endeavours. However, as a conceptual framework it still remains untested and therefore its contribution to the overall development and testing of theory in the field of implementation science is largely unquantified.
This being the case, the paper provides an integrated summary of our conceptual and theoretical thinking so far and introduces a typology (derived from social policy analysis) used to distinguish between the terms conceptual framework, theory and model - important definitional and conceptual issues in trying to refine theoretical and methodological approaches to knowledge translation. Secondly, the paper describes the next phase of our work, in particular concentrating on the conceptual thinking and mapping that has led to the generation of the hypothesis that the PARiHS framework is best utilised as a two-stage process: as a preliminary (diagnostic and evaluative) measure of the elements and sub-elements of evidence (E) and context (C), and then using the aggregated data from these measures to determine the most appropriate facilitation method. The exact nature of the intervention is thus determined by the specific actors in the specific context at a specific time and place. In the process of refining this next phase of our work, we have had to consider the wider issues around the use of theories to inform and shape our research activity; the ongoing challenges of developing robust and sensitive measures; facilitation as an intervention for getting research into practice; and finally to note how the current debates around evidence into practice are adopting wider notions that fit innovations more generally.
The paper concludes by suggesting that the future direction of the work on the PARiHS framework is to develop a two-stage diagnostic and evaluative approach, where the intervention is shaped and moulded by the information gathered about the specific situation and from participating stakeholders. In order to expedite the generation of new evidence and testing of emerging theories, we suggest the formation of an international research implementation science collaborative that can systematically collect and analyse experiences of using and testing the PARiHS framework and similar conceptual and theoretical approaches. We also recommend further refinement of the definitions around conceptual framework, theory, and model, suggesting a wider discussion that embraces multiple epistemological and ontological perspectives.


Available from: Jo Rycroft-Malone, Jun 10, 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Over the past 3 decades, more than 200 dementia caregiver interventions have been tested in randomized clinical trials and found to be efficacious. Few programs have been translated for delivery in various service contexts, and they remain inaccessible to the 15+ million dementia family caregivers in the United States. This article examines translational efforts and offers a vision for more rapid advancement in this area. We summarize the evidence for caregiver interventions, review published translational efforts, and recommend future directions to bridge the research-practice fissure in this area. We suggest that as caregiver interventions are tested external to service contexts, a translational phase is required. Yet, this is hampered by evidentiary gaps, lack of theory to understand implementation challenges, insufficient funding and unsupportive payment structures for sustaining programs. We propose ways to advance translational activities and future research with practical applications. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
    The Gerontologist 04/2015; 55(2). DOI:10.1093/geront/gnu123 · 2.48 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Many haematological cancer survivors report long-term physiological and psychosocial effects beyond treatment completion. These survivors continue to experience impaired quality of life (QoL) as a result of their disease and aggressive treatment. As key members of the multidisciplinary team, the purpose of this study is to examine the insights of cancer nurses to inform future developments in survivorship care provision. Open text qualitative responses from two prospective Australian cross-sectional surveys of nurses (n = 136) caring for patients with haematological cancer. Data were analysed thematically, using an inductive approach to identify themes. This study has identified a number of issues that nurses perceive as barriers to quality survivorship care provision. Two main themes were identified: the first relating to the challenges nurses face in providing care ('care challenges') and the second relating to the challenges of providing survivorship care within contemporary health care systems ('system challenges'). Cancer nurses perceive the nature of haematological cancer and its treatment and of the health care system itself, as barriers to the provision of quality survivorship care. Care challenges such as the lack of a standard treatment path and the relapsing or remitting nature of haematological cancers may be somewhat intractable, but system challenges relating to clearly defining and delineating professional responsibilities and exchanging information with other clinicians are not. Addressing the issues identified will facilitate cancer nurses' provision of survivorship care and help address haematological survivors' needs with regard to the physical and psychosocial consequences of their cancer and treatment.
    Journal of Cancer Survivorship 05/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11764-015-0458-7 · 3.29 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Improvement (defined broadly as purposive efforts to secure positive change) has become an increasingly important activity and field of inquiry within healthcare. This article offers an overview of possible methods for the study of improvement interventions. The choice of available designs is wide, but debates continue about how far improvement efforts can be simultaneously practical (aimed at producing change) and scientific (aimed at producing new knowledge), and whether the distinction between the practical and the scientific is a real and useful one. Quality improvement projects tend to be applied and, in some senses, self-evaluating. They are not necessarily directed at generating new knowledge, but reports of such projects if well conducted and cautious in their inferences may be of considerable value. They can be distinguished heuristically from research studies, which are motivated by and set out explicitly to test a hypothesis, or otherwise generate new knowledge, and from formal evaluations of improvement projects. We discuss variants of trial designs, quasi-experimental designs, systematic reviews, programme evaluations, process evaluations, qualitative studies, and economic evaluations. We note that designs that are better suited to the evaluation of clearly defined and static interventions may be adopted without giving sufficient attention to the challenges associated with the dynamic nature of improvement interventions and their interactions with contextual factors. Reconciling pragmatism and research rigour is highly desirable in the study of improvement. Trade-offs need to be made wisely, taking into account the objectives involved and inferences to be made. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
    BMJ quality & safety 03/2015; 24(5). DOI:10.1136/bmjqs-2014-003620 · 3.28 Impact Factor