Organized by Cara C. Lewis, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, USA; Byron J. Powell, Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, USA
The Society for Implementation Research Collaboration (SIRC) featured implementation mechanisms for its 4th biennial conference series in 2017 to encourage more study and discourse regarding how strategies work to exert their effects, or the processes through which they achieve change. The motivations for this focus on mechanisms came from both scientists and practitioners. Scientifically, studying implementation mechanisms can help us learn from negative or null studies and build evidence for why certain strategies work in some contexts but not others, for example. Practically, establishing implementation mechanisms can help design and tailor strategies, adapt implementation strategies to new settings, and streamline implementation efforts, particularly for under-resourced settings. To spur research in this area for the benefit of science and practice, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality R13HS025632), and sponsored by SIRC, a conference series set out to achieve two aims: (1) establish priorities to guide a research agenda on implementation mechanisms, and (2) actively disseminate the research agenda to research, policy, and practice audiences. To this end, a Mechanisms Network of Expertise (MNoE) convened across three years at SIRC and in-between Deep Dive events.
This special collection includes the resulting research agenda and several early papers from our MNoE that directly address priorities therein. We invite the international community to reflect upon and critique the findings, ideas, and calls to action put forth in this special collection. Given the nascent state of this work, dialogue is crucial to advancing the understanding of implementation mechanisms. We also hope this research agenda will inspire others to study mechanisms and apply the findings for the betterment of society.
Articles have undergone each journal’s standard peer-review process it was submitted and accepted in and the participating journal Editors declare no competing interests. Further articles will be added in due course following peer review.