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Implementability of healthcare interventions: an overview of reviews and development of a conceptual framework

Klaic, M., Kapp, S., Hudson, P. , Chapman, W., Denehy, L., Story, D. & Francis, J. J. ORCID: 0000-0001-5784-8895 (2022). Implementability of healthcare interventions: an overview of reviews and development of a conceptual framework. Implementation Science, 17(1), article number 10. doi: 10.1186/s13012-021-01171-7


Implementation research may play an important role in reducing research waste by identifying strategies that support translation of evidence into practice. Implementation of healthcare interventions is influenced by multiple factors including the organisational context, implementation strategies and features of the intervention as perceived by people delivering and receiving the intervention. Recently, concepts relating to perceived features of interventions have been gaining traction in published literature, namely, acceptability, fidelity, feasibility, scalability and sustainability. These concepts may influence uptake of healthcare interventions, yet there seems to be little consensus about their nature and impact. The aim of this paper is to develop a testable conceptual framework of implementability of healthcare interventions that includes these five concepts.

A multifaceted approach was used to develop and refine a conceptual framework of implementability of healthcare interventions. An overview of reviews identified reviews published between January 2000 and March 2021 that focused on at least one of the five concepts in relation to a healthcare intervention. These findings informed the development of a preliminary framework of implementability of healthcare interventions which was presented to a panel of experts. A nominal group process was used to critique, refine and agree on a final framework.

A total of 252 publications were included in the overview of reviews. Of these, 32% were found to be feasible, 4% reported sustainable changes in practice and 9% were scaled up to other populations and/or settings. The expert panel proposed that scalability and sustainability of a healthcare intervention are dependent on its acceptability, fidelity and feasibility. Furthermore, acceptability, fidelity and feasibility require re-evaluation over time and as the intervention is developed and then implemented in different settings or with different populations. The final agreed framework of implementability provides the basis for a chronological, iterative approach to planning for wide-scale, long-term implementation of healthcare interventions.

We recommend that researchers consider the factors acceptability, fidelity and feasibility (proposed to influence sustainability and scalability) during the preliminary phases of intervention development, evaluation and implementation, and iteratively check these factors in different settings and over time.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Implementation strategies, Framework, Scalability, Sustainability, Implementability, Implementation science, Implementation research, Healthcare interventions
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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