Implementation Science (IS) pushes research outcomes into practice

ONF takes lead in approach to IS

The best research outcome means little if it is not applied to establish or improve a practice, program or policy. Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) recognized the need for such a process to speed research results into practice. For the past several years ONF has taken the lead to collaborate with key stakeholders and apply Implementation Science strategies and processes to research outcomes.

ONF is ready to take the next step that will see all programs – Spinal Cord Injury, Acquired Brain Injury and Prevention – co-ordinate to fully embrace IS as the core approach to ensure that results of research connected to each program leads to sustainable improvements in clinical practice and care outcomes.

“We see major benefits to modelling IS by co-ordinating our research implementation efforts across the three ONF programs,” says Hélène Gagné, Program Director, Injury Prevention. “Taking the lead also means we have a responsibility to help inform and support our stakeholders to understand and apply IS processes.” Hélène was a member of the planning committee for the biennial Global Implementation Conference held in Toronto this past June and provides IS supports at ONF.

To support its efforts to adapt to IS, ONF reached out internationally and partnered with the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) some years ago. NIRN has established and shares its science-based approach for moving evidence to practice. In addition, ONF created the Integrated Research and Knowledge Mobilization Framework, a document called “Informing Implementation” as a guide to decision-making on research funding. The framework provides the basis for sharing research outcomes required for the IS approach.

“Sustainable practice improvements that can be widely and systematically implemented are the core of IS,” says Hélène. “At a very practical level, improved practices lead to better outcomes for individuals and reduced costs to families and the health care system.”

For the past several years ONF has been gradually applying IS to its collaborative work with partners such as the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) and the Rick Hansen Institute. ONF also encourages effective implementation processes through its support of Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and local organizations by offering webinars, presentations and consultations.