Mate K., Svoronos T, & Fitzgerald DW (2015). Implementation science and translational public health. In Detels R, Gulliford, Karim, & Tan (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Global Public Health (6 ed.): Oxford University Press.
The pace of medical discovery in the past century has been breathtaking with new and improved drugs, devices and diagnostics prolonging life, relieving suffering and curing conditions that were previously untreatable. However, delays in care, incomplete information, and failed processes continue to plague modern healthcare in countries both rich and poor so that the benefits of medical discovery are not universally realized. Implementation science is the study of strategies undertaken to implement evidence-based technologies, services, diagnostics or therapeutics in “real-life” populations and service delivery contexts. The subject of study is the implementation method itself which can vary across place and time. The primary aim of implementation science is an optimistic one-focused on finding the opportunities to improve health and health care for all populations where gaps in care currently persist. This chapter explores the origins of implementation science, highlights the challenges facing implementation scientists, describes the key features of an implementation science study, and reviews examples of implementation science for resource-limited and high-income country settings. As the field of implementation science remains relatively new, this chapter provides practical guidance to the would-be implementation scientist on how to conduct research in this field.