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J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Feb;21 Suppl 2:S43-9.

Models, strategies, and tools. Theory in implementing evidence-based findings into health care practice.

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VA Puget Sound Health Care System and Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98108, USA.


This paper presents a case for careful consideration of theory in planning to implement evidence-based practices into clinical care. As described, theory should be tightly linked to strategic planning through careful choice or creation of an implementation framework. Strategies should be linked to specific interventions and/or intervention components to be implemented, and the choice of tools should match the interventions and overall strategy, linking back to the original theory and framework. The thesis advanced is that in most studies where there is an attempt to implement planned change in clinical processes, theory is used loosely. An example of linking theory to intervention design is presented from a Mental Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative effort to increase appropriate use of antipsychotic medication among patients with schizophrenia in the Veterans Health Administration.

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