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Inside help: An integrative review of champions in healthcare-related implementation.

Miech EJ, Rattray NA, Flanagan ME, Damschroder L, Schmid AA, Damush TM. Inside help: An integrative review of champions in healthcare-related implementation. SAGE open medicine. 2018 May 17; 6:2050312118773261.

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Background/aims: The idea that champions are crucial to effective healthcare-related implementation has gained broad acceptance; yet the champion construct has been hampered by inconsistent use across the published literature. This integrative review sought to establish the current state of the literature on champions in healthcare settings and bring greater clarity to this important construct. Methods: This integrative review was limited to research articles in peer-reviewed, English-language journals published from 1980 to 2016. Searches were conducted on the online MEDLINE database via OVID and PubMed using the keyword "champion." Several additional terms often describe champions and were also included as keywords: implementation leader, opinion leader, facilitator, and change agent. Bibliographies of full-text articles that met inclusion criteria were reviewed for additional references not yet identified via the main strategy of conducting keyword searches in MEDLINE. A five-member team abstracted all full-text articles meeting inclusion criteria. Results: The final dataset for the integrative review consisted of 199 unique articles. Use of the term champion varied widely across the articles with respect to topic, specific job positions, or broader organizational roles. The most common method for operationalizing champion for purposes of analysis was the use of a dichotomous variable designating champion presence or absence. Four studies randomly allocated of the presence or absence of champions. Conclusions: The number of published champion-related articles has markedly increased: more articles were published during the last two years of this review (i.e. 2015-2016) than during its first 30?years (i.e. 1980-2009).The number of champion-related articles has continued to increase sharply since the year 2000. Individual studies consistently found that champions were important positive influences on implementation effectiveness. Although few in number, the randomized trials of champions that have been conducted demonstrate the feasibility of using experimental design to study the effects of champions in healthcare.

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