Leadership Corner: Benefits of Implementation Science Certification Course

Posted on August 08, 2019

The Leadership Corner features monthly updates from the MHA leadership team. The updates will provide new insights to patient safety and quality as well as information obtained from healthcare workshops and conferences across the country.

Michelle Norcross, MSA, senior director of safety and quality, MHA Keystone Center, discusses how the upcoming Implementation Science Healthcare Performance Improvement Certification Course will help MHA-member hospitals and health systems close the gap between recommended and provided care.  

Michelle NorcrossIt has been long recognized that evidence-based practices in medicine can improve patient outcomes, provide high-quality care, reduce costs and eliminate ineffective practices. Yet, studies indicate it can take 15 to 20 years for evidence to reach everyday clinical practice, which creates a gap between recommended and provided care.

The implementation gap is most apparent at the organizational level. Healthcare organizations often have many quality improvement projects underway, but few have been successful in effectively changing the way they operate and moving closer to the Quadruple Aim.

The main reason for failure is the lack of a systemic approach to implementation. At the individual level, change fatigue is widespread among hospital employees, particularly among front-line care providers. Change fatigue is a sign that better change management efforts are needed to provide a shared vision and path forward.

Lucian Leape, MD, believes implementing evidence-based practices is difficult and needs effective strategies to address the complexity of systems of care, individual practitioners, senior leadership and organizational cultures. 

Implementing a strategy that requires long-lasting change is one of the greatest challenges for healthcare professionals.  According to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review, an estimated 70% of hospital strategic initiatives fail due to three kinds of failures: launch, sustain and scale.

Now more than ever, providers need the skillset to drive real and sustained performance improvement that will enhance patient care. The current economic climate demands value from healthcare delivery.

Every healthcare service is required to maximize positive outcomes in the most cost-effective way. Organizations that can effectively implement evidence-based practices will lead the charge to a future state closer to the Quadruple Aim — improving the patient experience and population health, decreasing the cost of care, and achieving joy, well-being and resilience among care teams.

Implementation science (IS) is a relatively new scientific field. By definition, it is the study of how evidence-based ideas can be transformed into changes that, when put into everyday practice, will improve healthcare outcomes. This involves assessing barriers to change, understanding the target group and setting, and selecting effective strategies and measures to change behavior. The evidence-practice gap has been fueled by a historic lack of effort to understand, identify and target factors critical for successful implementation of evidence-based interventions, which highlights the need for increased adoption of IS concepts and tools. A different approach is needed to close the evidence–practice gap and improve healthcare outcomes.

The MHA Keystone Center, in partnership with Vlasic & Roth, will host a multifaceted, innovative certification program on implementation science to allow MHA members to be part of the solution, become an Implementation Influencer and achieve lasting results organizationwide. This certification is designed to expose trainees to frameworks and tools that facilitate the implementation process. The trainees’ ability to implement evidence-based practices and achieve measurable results will be significantly improved through mastery of implementation science concepts, collaboratively troubleshooting implementation challenges, and leveraging tools from the training.

After receiving the Implementation Influencer certification, participants will have the skills to assess the quality and effectiveness of current service delivery; identify appropriate and feasible evidence-based policies, programs and practices that address organizational priorities; persuasively introduce new evidence-based practices and develop internal support; assess and increase stakeholder engagement in practice improvement; identify and use appropriate data to monitor the quality of new and existing improvement interventions; and advocate for the importance of implementation in performance, quality and safety improvement activities.

The certification program will also provide secondary benefits, such as leadership skill building on implementing and evaluating evidence-based practices; access to and support from implementation practice and healthcare operation experts; published literature and hands-on training exercises; peer collaboration; and a certificate of completion.

Members who are interested in becoming an Implementation Influencer should follow these three steps: 

  • Step 1: Register by Sept. 8 to learn the basics of implementation science theory through a cloud-based virtual training.  
  • Step 2: Collaborate with subject matter experts and peers to work through common implementation barriers during a one-day, intensive boot camp event Oct. 15
  • Step 3: Ensure content mastery by passing an exam and earn the certificate of completion and designation as an Implementation Influencer. 

Additional information is available on the Implementation Science website.

Evidence-based practices require effective implementation to benefit patients and communities. The MHA Keystone Center offers no-cost implementation consultations for its members.

This article was featured in the MHA Keystone Center Newsletter. To subscribe, please contact Ashley Sandborn, MHA Keystone Center communications specialist.


  • Leadership Corner: Benefits of Implementation Science Certification Course

Tags: MHA Keystone Center, Michelle Norcross, Vlasic & Roth, Implementation Science, certification

Posted in: MHA Rounds, Patient Safety & Quality

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