Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Yale / 01.07.2015

MedicaIngrid Nembhard, PhD, MS Associate Professor, Yale School of Public Health & Yale School of Management Associate Director, Health Care Management Program Interview with: Ingrid M. Nembhard PhD MS Yale University New Haven, CT Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nembhard: Many health care organizations (hospital, medical groups,  etc.) have sought to address well-documented quality problems by implementing evidence-based innovations, that is, practices, policies, or technologies that have been proven to work in other organizations. The benefits of these innovations are often not realized because adopting organizations experience implementation failure—lack of skillful and consistent use of innovations by intended users (e.g., clinicians). Past research estimates that implementation failure occurs at rates greater than 50% in health care. The past work also shows organizational factors expected to be facilitators of implementation are not always helpful. In this work, we examined a possible explanation for the mixed results: different innovation types have distinct enabling factors. Based on observation and statistical analyses, we differentiated role-changing innovations, altering what workers do, from time-changing innovations, altering when tasks are performed or for how long. We then examined our hypothesis that the degree to which access to groups that can alter organizational learning—staff, management, and external network— facilitates implementation depends on innovation type. Our longitudinal study of 517 hospitals’ implementation of evidence-based practices for treating heart attack confirmed our thesis for factors granting access to each group: improvement team’s representativeness (of affected staff), senior management engagement, and network membership. Although team representativeness and network membership were positively associated with implementing role-changing practices, senior management engagement was not. In contrast, senior management engagement was positively associated with implementing time-changing practices, whereas team representativeness was not, and network membership was not unless there was limited management engagement. (more…)