Implementation science in healthcare is a growing new area of study into how best to ensure research findings are translated into everyday practice to benefit health and wellbeing.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that 50% percent of Australians had at least one chronic disease in 2014-15, while nearly one quarter of all Australians had two or more. Yet the knowledge to prevent chronic disease exists.
It has become clear that publishing research in peer-reviewed journals, while important, is not enough to ensure health decisions are made on the best available evidence. There remains a gap between what has been identified by research as best practice, and what is actually being done in healthcare settings and the community.
A more targeted approach is needed to translate research findings into practice. Implementation science seeks to understand how researchers can promote and speed up the spread of evidence-based practice to improve our health and wellbeing.
Implementation science in healthcare is relatively new and target audiences can include consumers, clinicians, public health practitioners, health decision-makers and policy-makers. It has developed from the need of healthcare providers to maximise investment into services, and decrease inefficiencies, wasted resources and poor outcomes in morbidity and mortality.
The National Centre for Implementation Science is a new Centre for Research Excellence that works to bridge the evidence-to-practice gap in chronic disease prevention, utilising a world-first implementation laboratory. In particular, NCOIS works to improve the translation of evidence into policies and practices that target diet, physical activity, weight status, tobacco or alcohol use in a range of community settings.
‘We need to make sure research can inform policy and practice,’ asserts A/Prof Luke Wolfenden, NCOIS Director.
‘Chronic diseases and injuries can be closely linked to lifestyle choices that are very often modifiable. If we target and modify these risks, we can reduce the number of people suffering needlessly.’
By conducting implementation science in chronic disease prevention, NCOIS seeks to improve the translation of health research into policy and practice, to prevent chronic disease and ultimately to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Australia’s health 2018. Canberra: AIHW.
Luke Wolfenden, John Wiggers, Adrian Bauman, Chris Rissel, Andrew Wilson, Jeremy Grimshaw, Serene Yoong, Julian Elliot, Chris Doran, Hopin Lee. Centre for Research Excellence in Implementation for Community Chronic Disease Prevention. National Health and Medical Research Council Centres for Research Excellence Grant. $2,497,647.70. 2019-2023. Application ID: APP1153479.