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In Implementation science : IS

BACKGROUND : Implementation research has delved into barriers to implementing change and interventions for the implementation of innovation in practice. There remains a gap, however, that fails to connect implementation barriers to the most effective implementation strategies and provide a more tailored approach during implementation. This study aimed to explore barriers for the implementation of professional services in community pharmacies and to predict the effectiveness of facilitation strategies to overcome implementation barriers using machine learning techniques.

METHODS : Six change facilitators facilitated a 2-year change programme aimed at implementing professional services across community pharmacies in Australia. A mixed methods approach was used where barriers were identified by change facilitators during the implementation study. Change facilitators trialled and recorded tailored facilitation strategies delivered to overcome identified barriers. Barriers were coded according to implementation factors derived from the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and the Theoretical Domains Framework. Tailored facilitation strategies were coded into 16 facilitation categories. To predict the effectiveness of these strategies, data mining with random forest was used to provide the highest level of accuracy. A predictive resolution percentage was established for each implementation strategy in relation to the barriers that were resolved by that particular strategy.

RESULTS : During the 2-year programme, 1131 barriers and facilitation strategies were recorded by change facilitators. The most frequently identified barriers were a 'lack of ability to plan for change', 'lack of internal supporters for the change', 'lack of knowledge and experience', 'lack of monitoring and feedback', 'lack of individual alignment with the change', 'undefined change objectives', 'lack of objective feedback' and 'lack of time'. The random forest algorithm used was able to provide 96.9% prediction accuracy. The strategy category with the highest predicted resolution rate across the most number of implementation barriers was 'to empower stakeholders to develop objectives and solve problems'.

CONCLUSIONS : Results from this study have provided a better understanding of implementation barriers in community pharmacy and how data-driven approaches can be used to predict the effectiveness of facilitation strategies to overcome implementation barriers. Tailored facilitation strategies such as these can increase the rate of real-time implementation of innovations in healthcare, leading to an industry that can confidently and efficiently adapt to continuous change.

Moussa Lydia, Benrimoj Shalom, Musial Katarzyna, Kocbek Simon, Garcia-Cardenas Victoria


Change facilitation, Change management, Determinants, Facilitation strategies, Implementation factors, Machine learning, Organisational change, Pharmacy practice, Random forest, Tailored interventions