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Kochevar LK, Yano EM. Understanding health care organization needs and context. Beyond performance gaps. Journal of general internal medicine. 2006 Feb 1; 21 Suppl 2:S25-9.
Significant efforts have been invested in improving our understanding of how to accelerate and magnify the impact of research on clinical practice. While approaches to fostering translation of research into practice are numerous, none appears to be superior and the evidence for their effectiveness is mixed. Lessons learned from formative evaluation have given us a greater appreciation of the contribution of context to successful implementation of quality improvement interventions. While formative evaluation is a powerful tool for addressing context effects during implementation, lessons learned from the social sciences (including management and operations research, sociology, and public health) show us that there are also powerful preimplementation tools available to us. This paper discusses how we might integrate these tools into implementation research. We provide a theoretical framework for our need to understand organizational contexts and how organizational characteristics can alert us to situations where preimplementation tools will prove most valuable.