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Implementing clinical decision support for reducing women Veterans' cardiovascular risk in VA: A mixed-method, longitudinal study of context, adaptation, and uptake

Brunner JW, Farmer MM, Bean-Mayberry BA, Chanfreau CC, Than CT, Hamilton AB, Finley EP. Implementing clinical decision support for reducing women Veterans' cardiovascular risk in VA: A mixed-method, longitudinal study of context, adaptation, and uptake. Frontiers in Health Services. 2022 Sep 29;

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Evaluations of clinical decision support (CDS) implementation often struggle to measure and explain heterogeneity in uptake over time and across settings, and to account for the impact of context and adaptation on implementation success. In 2017-2020, the EMPOWER QUERI implemented a cardiovascular toolkit using a computerized template aimed at reducing women Veterans' cardiovascular risk across five Veterans Healthcare Administration (VA) sites, using an enhanced Replicating Effective Programs (REP) implementation approach. In this study, we used longitudinal joint displays of qualitative and quantitative findings to explore (1) how contextual factors emerged across sites, (2) how the template and implementation strategies were adapted in response to contextual factors, and (3) how contextual factors and adaptations coincided with template uptake across sites and over time. We identified site structure, staffing changes, relational authority of champions, and external leadership as important contextual factors. These factors gave rise to adaptations such as splitting the template into multiple parts, pairing the template with a computerized reminder, conducting academic detailing, creating cheat sheets, and using small-scale pilot testing. All five sites exhibited variability in utilization over the months of implementation, though later sites exhibited higher template utilization immediately post-launch, possibly reflecting a "preloading" of adaptations from previous sites. These findings underscore the importance of adaptive approaches to implementation, with intentional shifts in intervention and strategy to meet the needs of individual sites, as well as the value of integrating mixed-method data sources in conducting longitudinal evaluation of implementation efforts.

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