Implementation science is about promoting interventions that work, with the aim of improving population health. Many of our biggest human health problems that have tombs of evidence based solutions – just sitting there on a shelf. We need implementation science to get them off the shelf and into routine practice. Translation from the research environment – or even from one country or population to the next – is not always simple. Implementation science addresses this complexity and provides guidance on methods and methodologies to make sure the translation works.
Implementation science is the bridge between what can work (efficacy) and what does work (effectiveness). Implementation science studies commonly focus on the external validity of their findings, i.e. whether they can be generalised across different settings and individuals.
Implementation research is needed to account for the complexities of the systems in which interventions are implemented since other approaches often fail to address these. Results of implementation research will support evidence-based policymaking that can build robust programmes to improve public health. Implementation success is determined by a variety of factors, including the characteristics of the intervention, the stakeholder groups involved and the context in which the intervention is carried out.
Indigenous Implementation Science
We need implementation science to advance Indigenous health. The 370 million Indigenous peoples worldwide have basic health rights which are not being met by their states. These rights are articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In New Zealand we have the Treaty of Waitangi which is a fundamental platform for our indigenous rights – including the right to health equity.
An Indigenous implementation science framework can help with the issue of how things are done - There are evidenced based solutions for many of the problems that indigenous peoples face. However, research often has internal validly based on non-indigenous populations – so translation models need to be developed to ensure efficacy for Indigenous settings. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples says that states shall take the necessary steps to meet health needs of their Indigenous populations, however - it is very clear that not enough is being done to meet health needs for indigenous peoples worldwide – New Zealand included – and this is evidenced by huge health inequities.