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Smelson DA, Yakovchenko V, Byrne T, McCullough MB, Smith JL, Bruzios KE, Gabrielian S. Testing implementation facilitation for uptake of an evidence-based psychosocial intervention in VA homeless programs: A hybrid type III trial. PLoS ONE. 2022 Mar 17; 17(3):e0265396.
BACKGROUND: Healthcare systems face difficulty implementing evidence-based practices, particularly multicomponent interventions. Additional challenges occur in settings serving vulnerable populations such as homeless Veterans, given the population''s acuity, multiple service needs, and organizational barriers. Implementation Facilitation (IF) is a strategy to support the uptake of evidence-based practices. This study''s aim was to simultaneously examine IF on the uptake of Maintaining Independence and Sobriety Through Systems Integration, Outreach and Networking-Veterans Edition (MISSION-Vet), an evidence-based multicomponent treatment engagement intervention for homeless Veterans with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse, and clinical outcomes among Veterans receiving MISSION-Vet. METHODS: This multi-site hybrid III modified stepped-wedge trial involved seven programs at two Veterans Affairs Medical Centers comparing Implementation as Usual (IU; training and educational materials) to IF (IU + internal and external facilitation). RESULTS: A total of 110 facilitation events averaging 27 minutes were conducted, of which 85% were virtual. Staff (case managers and peer specialists; n = 108) were trained in MISSION-Vet and completed organizational readiness assessments (n = 77). Although both sites reported being willing to innovate and a desire to improve outcomes, implementation climate significantly differed. Following IU, no staff at either site conducted MISSION-Vet. Following IF, there was a significant MISSION-Vet implementation difference between sites (53% vs. 14%, p = .002). Among the 93 Veterans that received any MISSION-Vet services, they received an average of six sessions. Significant positive associations were found between number of MISSION-Vet sessions and outpatient treatment engagement measured by the number of outpatient visits attended. CONCLUSIONS: While staff were interested in improving patient outcomes, MISSION-Vet was not implemented with IU. IF supported MISSION-Vet uptake and increased outpatient service utilization, but MISSION-Vet still proved difficult to implement particularly in the larger healthcare system. Future studies might tailor implementation strategies to organizational readiness. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02942979.