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Samanta D, Landes SJ. Implementation Science to Improve Quality of Neurological Care. Pediatric Neurology. 2021 Aug 1; 121:67-74.
Neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death globally. To challenge this enormous disease burden, scientists are pursuing innovative solutions to maintain and improve the quality of neurological care. Despite the availability of many effective evidence-based practices, many patients with neurological disorders cannot access these (or receive them inefficiently after a long delay) and may be exposed to unnecessary, expensive, and potentially harmful treatments. To promote the systematic uptake of evidence-based practices into the real world, a new scientific study of methods has been developed: implementation science. In implementation science research, transdisciplinary research teams systematically (using theory, model, and framework) assess local barriers to facilitate the adoption of evidence-based practices and examine potential solutions using implementation strategies (interventions that help adoption of intended practices) targeting multiple levels in the health care system, including patient, provider, clinic, facility, organization, or broader community and policy environment. The success of these strategies (implementation outcomes) is measured by the extent and quality of the implementation. Implementation studies can be either observational or interventional but are distinct from traditional efficacy or effectiveness studies. Traditional neuroscience research and clinical trials, conducted in controlled settings, focus on discovering new insights with little consideration of translating those insights into the everyday practice of a resource-constrained and dynamic health care system. Thus, neurologists should become familiar with implementation science to reduce the knowledge-practice gap, maximize health care value, and improve management of brain disorders affecting public health.