Definitions of terms commonly used in Active Implementation descriptions. Implementation practice and science will advance as common concepts, common language, and common measures are developed to promote communication across domains and disciplines.
Adherence: The extent to which a practitioner uses prescribed interventions and avoids those that are proscribed.
Absorptive capacity: Linked implementation teams contribute to the absorptive capacity of systems that are able to “recognize the value of new, external information, assimilate it, and apply it” (Cohen & Levinthal, 1990, p. 128). According to Zahra and George (2002) potential absorptive capacity consists of “knowledge acquisition and assimilation” capabilities, and realized capacity centers on “knowledge transformation and exploitation,” the goal of Active Implementation.
Community: A group of people living in a particular area or having characteristics in common (e.g., city, neighborhood, organization, service agency, business, professional association); the larger socio-political-cultural context in which an implementation program is intended to operate.
Competence: The level of skill shown by a practitioner in delivering an intervention (e.g., appropriate responses to contextual factors such as client variables, particular aspects of the presenting problems, client’s individual life situation, sensitivity of timing, recognizing opportunities to intervene).
Core components: This phrase may refer to the most essential and indispensable components of an intervention practice or program (“core intervention components”) or the most essential and indispensable components of an implementation practice or program (“core implementation components”).
Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. The spread of ideas is influenced by characteristics of the innovation, communication channels, time, and the organization of social systems (Rogers, 1995).
Dissemination is the “purposive distribution of information and intervention materials to a specific public health or clinical practice audience. The intent is to spread information and the associated evidence-based interventions. Research on dissemination addresses how information about health promotion and care interventions is created, packaged, transmitted, and interpreted among a variety of important stakeholder groups.” (4th Annual NIH Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation: Policy and Practice, 2011)
Engagement: The ability to attract, win over, get the commitment of, and engage recipients, stakeholders, or collaterals.
Evidence-based practices: Skills and techniques that can be used when a practitioner is interacting directly with a recipient. They are sometimes called core intervention components when used in a broader program context.
Evidence-based programs: Organized, multi-faceted interventions that are designed to serve recipients with complex problems. Such programs, for example, may seek to integrate social skills training, family counseling, and educational assistance, where needed, in a comprehensive yet individualized manner, based on a clearly articulated theory of change, identification of the active agents of change, and the specification of necessary organizational supports.
Fidelity: Correspondence between the program as used in practice and the program as it was described and intended to be used.
Framework: “A conceptual framework identifies a set of variables and the relations among them that are presumed to account for a set of phenomena” (Carpiano & Daley, 2006, p. 565).
Implement: The act of accomplishing some aim or executing some order; to put into practical effect; carry out; pursue to a conclusion (Dictionary.com); a set of specific activities designed to put into practice an activity or program of known dimensions. According to this definition, implementation is purposeful and the activity or program being implemented is described in such a way that independent observers can detect its presence and strength.
Implementation: “A specified set of activities designed to put into practice an activity or program of known dimensions. According to this definition, implementation processes are purposeful and are described in sufficient detail such that independent observers can detect the presence and strength of the “specific set of activities” related to implementation. In addition, the activity or program being implemented is described in sufficient detail so that independent observers can detect its presence and strength” (Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, & Wallace, 2005, p 5).
Implementation Science: Implementation science is the study of factors that influence the full and effective use of innovations in practice (Blase, Van Dyke, Fixsen, & Bailey, 2012). Implementation science independent variables are produced on purpose so their predicted effects can be evaluated in practice in attempts to test hypotheses derived from implementation theory.
Implementation site: The evidence-based practice or program as it is embedded in the context of a new host organization (provider organization) and/or in the context of the community; the specific agency that houses, supports, and funds the implementation of a program or practice; also referred to as an intermediary organization (e.g., an Implementation Team works with the community to develop an intermediary organization that will in turn help to develop, support, and sustain one or more replication programs).
Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle: The well-used plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycle (Shewhart, 1924; Deming, 1948; Six-Sigma, 1990) provides a framework for initiating and managing change in a purposeful way.
Practice-based Evidence: Evidence of processes and outcomes generated in the course of doing the work of implementation; evidence based on examined experience.
Program: A coherent set of clearly described activities and specified linkages among activities designed to produce a set of desired outcomes.
Prototype: The original or best example(s) of a program or practice (e.g., the prototype program that was the subject of the original research en route to developing an evidence base for its effectiveness and utility).
Purveyor: An individual or group of individuals representing a program or practice who actively work with implementation sites to implement that practice or program with fidelity and good effect.
Recursive: A pattern that repeats; an iterative process where the feedback from an action influences the initiator of the action
Replication program: The program that is the result of any attempt to duplicate or reproduce the key aspects of a well-specified program or practice.
Resilience: “the capacity of systems to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function” (Kroeze et al., 2017, p. iv).
Robust: Strong; vigorous; sturdy; ability to recover gracefully; ability to have similar effects in diverse environments.
Synthesis: The combination of separate elements of thought into a whole, as of simple into complex conceptions, individual propositions into systems (thesis, antithesis, synthesis)