In September 2014, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), US Department of Health and Human Services published three issue briefs on elements to consider in implementing and evaluating evidence-based programs and practices.

Each issue brief is briefly outlined below:

Willing, Able –> Ready: Basics and Policy Implications of Readiness as a Key Component for Implementation of Evidence-Based Interventions:

Readiness of an organization to implement an evidence-based intervention (EBI) is considered to be essential to its successful adoption. Three components—motivation of staff, general organizational capacities, and intervention-specific capacities—are defined as R=MC2. The brief recommends that provider agencies examine their organizational readiness to determine their technical assistance needs prior to implementation and as a part of continuous program improvement.

The Importance of Contextual Fit when Implementing Evidence-Based Interventions:

Contextual fit is defined as the match between the strategies, procedures, or elements of an intervention and the values, needs, skills, and resources available in a setting. Eight elements are identified as determining the contextual fit: need, precision, an evidence base, efficiency, skills/competencies, cultural relevance, resources, and administrative and organizational support. The brief contends that contextual fit is undervalued and that technical assistance should focus on building strong contextual fit before investing in direct implementation efforts.

Using Evidence-Based Constructs to Assess the Extent of Implementation of Evidence-Based Interventions:

Five constructs are summarized in measuring implementation milestones: fidelity of implementation, competence in use, feeling and perceptions, context of the organization and community, and supporting implementation. The brief encourages organizations to evaluate the implementation process from multiple perspectives in order to identify barriers to implementation as well as their solutions. A sample monitoring plan is provided.

 

The issue briefs not only lay out elements to consider in implementing and evaluating EBIs, but they also outline what many federal and state funding agencies are already mandating in grant applications. Policymakers look at organizational readiness, contextual fit, and implementation and evaluation results to determine the viability and sustainability of supported interventions that applicants are proposing.