Implementation science can create a workforce equipped for new health care environment

The new Center for Health Innovation & Implementation Science at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute is studying how best to prepare the future health care workforce as the country's population ages. It calls upon the tools of implementation science to enable these workers and the health systems that will employ them to provide optimal care in a rapidly changing health care environment.

Implementation science, a new discipline, provides tools to clinicians and administrators to deliver better care and better at lower costs. It does so by equipping them with both theoretical and applied knowledge on how to successfully implement, localize and evaluate evidence-based practice. Implementation science also promotes innovation and invention of new models of care and processes when evidence does not exist.

"Implementation science will allow us to innovate in low-resource environments and provide personalized and population health management," said Malaz Boustani, M.D., MPH, the chief operating officer of the Center for Health Innovation & Implementation Science. "We need a workforce that can provide high-quality, patient-centered and cost-efficient health care in this environment." Dr. Boustani is also chief innovation and implementation officer at Indiana University Health, an IU Center for Aging Research and a Regenstrief Institute scientist, and an IU School of Medicine associate professor of medicine.

In "Preparing the Public Health Workforce with the Tools of Implementation Science," a poster presentation, a Center for Health Innovation & Implementation Science team proposes the establishment of research and discovery units within health systems. These units serve as the infrastructure for testing, studying, evaluating and refining strategies to disseminate and implement evidence-based practices that focus on patient outcomes. The team also investigates the impact of dissemination and implementation research when managing a population of patients. The researchers note that using the tools of implementation science, health care professionals and administrators can become part of a new health care workforce that moves evidence into practice and drives innovation on the front lines of .

The poster is being presented in Washington, D.C., on May 1 and 2 at the 10th Annual Health Workforce Research Conference, hosted by the Association of American Medical Colleges' Center for Workforce Studies. The theme of this year's conference is "Finding the Right Fit: The Health Workforce Needed to Support the Affordable Care Act."

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