Yale researchers develop model for spread of successful health innovations

September 21, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Although some family health innovations have proved effective in communities around the globe, many fail to gain widespread use – particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Researchers at Yale's Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI) examined several maternal and child health programs—such as those promoting breastfeeding and contraception—and produced an integrated and practical model of how to scale-up such programs.

The study, published in the September issue of online journal, synthesizes the experiences of family health programs in lower income countries.

"Our findings suggest that successful scale-up occurs within a complex adaptive system, characterized by interdependent parts, multiple , and several potential paths to achieve intended outcomes," explains Elizabeth Bradley, faculty director at GHLI and lead author on the paper, titled "A model for scale up of innovations in low-income settings: a mixed methods study."

Through a review of the literature and in-depth interviews with various experts, the Yale team developed the AIDED (Assess/Innovate/Develop/Engage/Devolve) model, laying out the five key factors that foster the spread of successful innovations from one community to another.

These factors are:

  • Assess the landscape of users' contexts. "Key informants suggested that a primary limitation of scale-up efforts was poor understanding of what communities wanted and what made them receptive to the innovation," write the researchers.
  • Innovate to increase user receptivity. The researchers recommended "adapting the innovation to local context and preferences," including "making changes to the design and packaging of the innovation," in order make the program's benefits clearer to potential user groups.
  • Develop support for the innovation. "Developing support involved enhancing education as well as identifying and addressing resistance to the innovation," note the researchers, adding, that inadequate development of support and emerging resistance from stakeholders were common reasons cited for failure of scale-up efforts.
  • Engage user groups. This is a three-step process, the researchers noted; 1) "introduction," i.e., identifying someone who has "an essential, pre-existing role in the user group" to serve as a "boundary spanner"; 2) "translating," or finding ways to make the innovation understandable and acceptable to potential users, including tapping into local idioms and practices; 3) "integration," which the researchers describe as "the embedding of the innovation in the routines and social norms of a user group."
  • Devolve for the spread of innovations. "Relinquishing control over the innovations' spread" is ultimately necessary for full scale-up, noted the researchers, adding that these innovations have to be "reintroduced" to each new potential user group.

Bradley presented the AIDED model last November at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation "Achieving Lasting Impact at Scale" convening, which sparked the conversation on impact at scale among researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and funders.

Explore further: New study identifies how information technology is used to solve global health challenges

Related Stories

New study identifies how information technology is used to solve global health challenges

May 1, 2012
In response to the considerable challenges in providing high-quality, affordable and universally accessible care in low- and middle-income countries, policy makers, donors and program implementers are increasingly looking ...

Smelly socks could be a key to preventing malaria deaths in the developing world

July 13, 2011
Grand Challenges Canada announces a grant today to support further development of a new innovative device to attract and kill mosquitoes that can transmit malaria.

Recommended for you

Expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

October 20, 2017
As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ...

More teens than ever aren't getting enough sleep

October 19, 2017
If you're a young person who can't seem to get enough sleep, you're not alone: A new study led by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge finds that adolescents today are sleeping fewer hours per night ...

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.