Longitudinal assessment of the association between implementation strategy use and the uptake of hepatitis C treatment: Year 2

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Implementation Science


Background: To increase the uptake of evidence-based treatments for hepatitis C (HCV), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established the Hepatitis Innovation Team (HIT) Collaborative. Teams of providers were tasked with choosing implementation strategies to improve HCV care. The aim of the current evaluation was to assess how site-level implementation strategies were associated with HCV treatment initiation and how the use of implementation strategies and their association with HCV treatment changed over time. Methods: A key HCV provider at each VA site (N = 130) was asked in two consecutive fiscal years (FYs) to complete an online survey examining the use of 73 implementation strategies organized into nine clusters as described by the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) study. The number of Veterans initiating treatment for HCV, or "treatment starts," at each site was captured using national data. Providers reported whether the use of each implementation strategy was due to the HIT Collaborative. Results: Of 130 sites, 80 (62%) responded in Year 1 (FY15) and 105 (81%) responded in Year 2 (FY16). Respondents endorsed a median of 27 (IQR19-38) strategies in Year 2. The strategies significantly more likely to be chosen in Year 2 included tailoring strategies to deliver HCV care, promoting adaptability, sharing knowledge between sites, and using mass media. The total number of treatment starts was significantly positively correlated with total number of strategies endorsed in both years. In Years 1 and 2, respectively, 28 and 26 strategies were significantly associated with treatment starts; 12 strategies overlapped both years, 16 were unique to Year 1, and 14 were unique to Year 2. Strategies significantly associated with treatment starts shifted between Years 1 and 2. Pre-implementation strategies in the "training/educating," "interactive assistance," and "building stakeholder interrelationships" clusters were more likely to be significantly associated with treatment starts in Year 1, while strategies in the "evaluative and iterative" and "adapting and tailoring" clusters were more likely to be associated with treatment starts in Year 2. Approximately half of all strategies were attributed to the HIT Collaborative. Conclusions: These results suggest that measuring implementation strategies over time is a useful way to catalog implementation of an evidence-based practice over time and across settings.

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