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Salloum RG, Wagner TH, Midboe AM, Daniels SI, Quanbeck A, Chambers DA. The economics of adaptations to evidence-based practices. Implementation science communications. 2022 Sep 24; 3(1):100.
BACKGROUND: Evidence-based practices (EBPs) are frequently adapted in response to the dynamic contexts in which they are implemented. Adaptation is defined as the degree to which an EBP is altered to fit the setting or to improve fit to local context and can be planned or unplanned. Although adaptations are common and necessary to maximizing the marginal impact of EBPs, little attention has been given to the economic consequences and how adaptations affect marginal costs. DISCUSSION: In assessing the economic consequences of adaptation, one should consider its impact on core components, the planned adaptive periphery, and the unplanned adaptive periphery. Guided by implementation science frameworks, we examine how various economic evaluation approaches accommodate the influence of adaptations and discuss the pros and cons of these approaches. Using the Framework for Reporting Adaptations and Modifications to Evidence-based interventions (FRAME), mixed methods can elucidate the economic reasons driving the adaptations. Micro-costing approaches are applied in research that integrates the adaptation of EBPs at the planning stage using innovative, adaptive study designs. In contrast, evaluation of unplanned adaptation is subject to confounding and requires sensitivity analysis to address unobservable measures and other uncertainties. A case study is presented using the RE-AIM framework to illustrate the costing of adaptations. In addition to empirical approaches to evaluating adaptation, simulation modeling approaches can be used to overcome limited follow-up in implementation studies. CONCLUSIONS: As implementation science evolves to improve our understanding of the mechanisms and implications of adaptations, it is increasingly important to understand the economic implications of such adaptations, in addition to their impact on clinical effectiveness. Therefore, explicit consideration is warranted of how costs can be evaluated as outcomes of adaptations to the delivery of EBPs.