Is implementation research out of step with implementation practice? Pathways to effective implementation support over the last decade

Metz, A., Jensen, T., Farley, A., & Boaz, A. (2022). Is implementation research out of step with implementation practice? Pathways to effective implementation support over the last decade. Implementation Research and Practice, 3. https://doi.org/10.1177/26334895221105585

Over the past few years, professionals in the field of implementation science have identified a growing gap between implementation research and implementation practice. While this issue has been highlighted informally, the field is lacking a shared understanding and clear way forward to reconcile this gap. In this paper, the authors describe how professionals providing implementation support have shifted their implementation practice over time through systematic observations of what works (and what does not work) for supporting and sustaining evidence use in service systems to improve population outcomes. The authors share the impressive leaps forward made in the field of implementation practice – from didactic training to responsive and tailored implementation strategies to co-created and relationship-based implementation solutions. The paper concludes with a call to action to the field for the creation of a virtuous learning cycle between professionals conducting implementation research and professionals providing implementation support to change practice as a way to produce a more robust and relevant science of implementation.

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