Taking Stock: Quality Enhancement Research Initiative and Implementation Science
The Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) program and implementation research emerged at the same time – about 10 years ago. This Editorial takes stock of how much both QUERI and implementation science have grown in the intervening decade, and reflects on the opportunities and challenges ahead. For example, as QUERI has matured, investigators more consistently incorporate implementation theory and implementation science goals into their individual projects and strategic plans. Also, more rigorous empiric studies of implementation have multiplied and produced notable successes both within QUERI and elsewhere.
Looking forward, if QUERI and the field of implementation science are to mature successfully, a series of challenges will need to be addressed, including: clearly demonstrating how applying principles of implementation science leads to more effective implementation, and communicating those lessons to stakeholders; engaging in the ongoing debate over methodological standards in quality improvement and implementation research; and demonstrating the business case for more effective implementation. The author also suggests thinking creatively about how to nurture the next generation of implementation researchers and front-line “connectors,” who are critical for accelerating implementation. In addition, strengthening the connections between implementation research and the other operational and research activities that influence change in healthcare systems is key to continued success.
Atkins D. QUERI and implementation research: Emerging from adolescence into adulthood. Implementation Science 2009 March;4:12.
This article was part of a special QUERI series featured in the online journal, Implementation Science. David Atkins, MD, is Director of the VA/HSR&D Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI).