Studies have amply demonstrated that evidence-based practices take an average of 17 years to be incorporated into general healthcare practice. Even this bleak estimate is unrealistically projected, with only half of evidence-based practices reaching widespread clinical use.
It is in this context that implementation science was born a few decades ago, defined as “the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic incorporation of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice and thereby to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services”.
The Young50 project aims to transfer the good practice of Cardio50 to three new contexts: Romania, Lithuania and Luxembourg. In order to make the transfer and adoption a reality, Kronikgune Institute (Basque Country) has designed, developed and tested an implementation strategy based on the fundamentals of implementation science. This strategy consists of distinct phases, each of which is broken down into different activities.
At the beginning of the implementation process, new adopters define the scope of their local intervention by selecting the core features of Cardio50 good practice that will be deployed. Situation analysis (via SWOT technique) is mandatory to set priorities and define strategic actions that will guide the Local Prevention Program definition and implementation planning.
Engaging key stakeholders is crucial to the success and sustainability of any project. Therefore, three adopting regions have involved these stakeholders, defining their roles and responsibilities during the implementation of the Prevention Program, understanding their interests and maximizing their influence to support the local deployment.
Additionally, regions have launched effective communication plans via well-planned, active and regular communication among stakeholders ensuring a better understanding of the vision and goals of the YOUNG50 program. This approach increases sense of belonging and reinforces collaboration, which increases the success rate of the implementation.
During the roll-out of local Young50 interventions consolidating alliances and support networks has been crucial for to catalyze the scaling-up. Regional, country-wide, or international organizations, such as Public Health Offices, cardiovascular NGOs and city municipalities, have played essential role by facilitating the deployment of local interventions as well.
Although practice transfer is a long and challenging process, using a concrete methodology for implementation facilitates the transfer of the intervention and provides robustness and rigor. Three pilot sites have reported their implementation experience in a systematic and structured way which makes easier the replication of the process in new sites. “Learning by doing” principle is also of high value and the insight gathered is of extreme relevance for future implementers.