Translating evidence is the key in practice

by Dr. Phil on January 5, 2014

While it’s important to support evidence in clinical practice, we have more problems translating the evidence into practice. There are several great clinical studies that are difficult to implement into practice for one reason or another. Sometimes, the article itself does a poor job of explaining the specific protocol that can be reproduced (I’m amazed journals still allow these to be published). Other times, it’s a problem with ‘external validity,’ or the relevance of the study to another population, often due to cultural differences.

As with anything related to research, scientists have attempted to quantify the translation of research into practice using the acronym, RE-AIM. Translating evidence into practice can be quantified by its Reach, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance:

The five steps to translate research into action are:

  • Reach the target population
  • Effectiveness or efficacy
  • Adoption by target settings or institutions
  • Implementation, consistency of delivery of intervention
  • Maintenance of intervention effects in individuals and settings over time

RE-AIM is one of the foundations of Translational Research: a field of research that helps quantify and qualify how successful we are at implementing research into practice.

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