An Implementation Intervention: Mapping Approaches to Prepare for Implementation Transfer (MAP-IT)

For implementation (and sustainment) of new interventions to be successful, it is critical that barriers are identified and addressed prior to change. It is challenging, however, for agencies to independently assess their own strengths and weaknesses and to develop plans for organizational improvement. Furthermore, the sheer number of strategies to promote implementation makes it difficult for agency leadership to decipher which are most appropriate for their own contexts and needs.

This application proposes to develop and pilot test Mapping Approaches to Prepare for Implementation Transfer (MAP-IT), an organizational intervention that includes four key elements: (1) guidelines on forming an implementation workgroup to inform and promote implementation efforts, (2) instruction on mechanisms known to impact implementation, (3) tools and instruction for conducting an agency-driven diagnosis of potential implementation barriers, and (4) tools for developing an implementation blueprint to address identified barriers (including instruction on strategies for addressing potential barriers prior to implementation). The premise of this application is significant in that MAP-IT would provide a low-cost (agency-driven opportunity for deliberate implementation preparedness, without ongoing external coaching) and sustainable (skill development for multiple individuals within the organization that can be applied to future implementation efforts) alternative to promoting organizational adoption of new practices.

The specific aims of the proposed research are as follows: Aim 1 – Synergistically integrate and adapt three established implementation intervention tools to promote deliberate agency implementation preparation – organizational assessment and feedback; taxonomy of implementation strategies; and visual-spatial decision making techniques – as combined into a comprehensive training and manualized bundle, MAP-IT. AIM 2 – Conduct a 2-arm cluster randomized efficacy trial of the MAP-IT intervention with 12 substance abuse treatment community-based residential and juvenile justice secure agencies serving adolescents (including those with opioid use disorders) randomized to either MAP-IT (EBP and MAP-IT trainings) or the non-intervention control condition (EBP training only).

Successful completion of the aims is expected to (1) establish preliminary evidence for the efficacy of a low-cost, sustainable alternative for improving implementation preparation that agencies can use to support and expedite implementation transfer, (2) shift the current paradigm by encouraging researchers (designing uptake studies) and health care agencies (independently striving to implement new practices) to place greater emphasis on pre-implementation preparations for change, (3) provide an empirical examination of how exploration and preparation can support implementation, using established measurement platforms and theoretical frameworks, and (4) provide documentation of agency selection of implementation strategies for promoting change in real-world settings. Findings from the proposed R21 will inform intervention effectiveness testing and implementation strategy selection in a future R01 aimed at improving uptake of best practices within behavioral healthcare delivery services using a full-scale randomized control trial.