Only a small proportion of the findings of medical research are incorporated into everyday practice in the health system. Implementation science aims to identify and overcome obstacles encountered along the implementation trajectory. The SAMS has sponsored a series of events on this topic, with a conference report being published in 2022.
One of the key tasks of implementation science is the scientific investigation of methods for promoting the systematic adoption of research findings and other evidence-based practices in routine settings. This includes evaluation of the success of implementation, ultimately measured in terms of demonstrable societal benefits. The overall goal is continuous improvement of the effectiveness of health services.
Over the past 10–15 years, this new discipline has become well established, particularly in the Anglo-American sphere, while in Switzerland it is still in its infancy. A milestone here was the establishment in 2019 of the Swiss Implementation Science Network (IMPACT) at the Institute of Nursing Science at the University of Basel. To help raise awareness of these activities, the SAMS requested the science journalist Lucienne Rey to attend the first international IMPACT Conference held in 2021 and summarise the key messages in a report, available in French (pdf) or in German (pdf).
The practical application of medical research findings is often impeded by the constraints of everyday practice. It is essential to gain an in-depth knowledge of the context in which an innovation is to be introduced and to adopt an interprofessional approach in order to understand the routines employed in practice and the working climate within an organisation. It is also important to identify at an early stage the stakeholders who need to be involved.
There is often a need for implementation strategies which operate at various levels: for example, it may be necessary, at the individual level, to provide training for health professionals; at the organisational level, to establish learning communities within a hospital; and at the policy level, to eliminate perverse incentives.