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Implement Sci. 2017 Oct 23;12(1):123. doi: 10.1186/s13012-017-0653-1.

Implementation and dissemination of a transition of care program for rural veterans: a controlled before and after study.

Author information

Denver/Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value Driven Care, VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, 1055 Clermont Street, Denver, 80220, CO, USA.
Denver/Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value Driven Care, VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, 1055 Clermont Street, Denver, 80220, CO, USA.
Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, 77843, TX, USA.
College of Nursing, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 13001 E 17th Pl, Aurora, 80045, CO, USA.
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, 92093, CA, USA.
Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, 13001 E 17th Pl, Aurora, 80045, CO, USA.
Hospital Medicine Section, Denver VA Medical Center, 1055 Clermont St, Denver, 80220, CO, USA.



Adapting promising health care interventions to local settings is a critical component in the dissemination and implementation process. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) rural transitions nurse program (TNP) is a nurse-led, Veteran-centered intervention designed to improve transitional care for rural Veterans funded by VA national offices for dissemination to other VA sites serving a predominantly rural Veteran population. Here, we describe our novel approach to the implementation and evaluation = the TNP.


This is a controlled before and after study that assesses both implementation and intervention outcomes. During pre-implementation, we assessed site context using a mixed method approach with data from diverse sources including facility-level quantitative data, key informant and Veteran interviews, observations of the discharge process, and a group brainstorming activity. We used the Practical Robust Implementation and Sustainability Model (PRISM) to inform our inquiries, to integrate data from all sources, and to identify factors that may affect implementation. In the implementation phase, we will use internal and external facilitation, paired with audit and feedback, to encourage appropriate contextual adaptations. We will use a modified Stirman framework to document adaptations. During the evaluation phase, we will measure intervention and implementation outcomes at each site using the RE-AIM framework (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance). We will conduct a difference-in-differences analysis with propensity-matched Veterans and VA facilities as a control. Our primary intervention outcome is 30-day readmission and Emergency Department visit rates. We will use our findings to develop an implementation toolkit that will inform the larger scale-up of the TNP across the VA.


The use of PRISM to inform pre-implementation evaluation and synthesize data from multiple sources, coupled with internal and external facilitation, is a novel approach to engaging sites in adapting interventions while promoting fidelity to the intervention. Our application of PRISM to pre-implementation and midline evaluation, as well as documentation of adaptations, provides an opportunity to identify and address contextual factors that may impede or enhance implementation and sustainability of health interventions and inform dissemination.


Adaptation; Dissemination; Implementation; PRISM; Rural health; Transitions of care; Veterans

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