By Liz Lynch

Implementation Science is a field of research where we explore ways to ensure that the treatments we provide to patients are based on the best available research evidence. On 9th March, we were very fortunate to be visited by a world leader in Implementation Science research, Professor Jeremy Grimshaw, from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada.

Professor Grimshaw spoke to researchers at The Florey Institute in Melbourne, about the importance of Implementation Science research. He reported that in every country, there is an evidence-practice gap, this means that treatments that have been proven to manage health conditions well are not always provided to patients. Estimates suggest that 30- 40% of patients do not receive effective treatments, and 20-25% of patients receive unnecessary or potentially harmful treatments.

Professor Grimshaw stressed the importance of using high quality scientific methods when we develop implementation trials. He provided a number of case studies that demonstrated challenges in the implementation of health evidence, and gave examples of strategies that have been successfully used. He reported that implementation of evidence usually requires people to change what they do. Therefore, strategies to implement evidence might involve patients, health professionals, managers, policy makers or commissioners. He led a lively group discussion, where we talked about how to improve the design of implementation strategies to promote evidence-based care, what tools for implementing evidence are available (and which ones are easy to use) and how to move forward with implementation research.

It was great to be able to meet the man whose work I have read and admired over the past 5 years since I first enrolled in my PhD program. I feel very fortunate to be working at The Florey where these sorts of opportunities are available, and keep me inspired in my research to address evidence-practice gaps in stroke rehabilitation.

Prof Grimshaw’s Implementation Research presentation Improving design of dissemination and implementation strategies to promote evidence based care can be viewed at The Florey’s Youtube channel.

Julie Bernhardt, Dominique Cadilhac, Jeremy Grimshaw, Sandy Middleton and Liz Lynch are pictured above.