Implementation Science Research Examining the Integration of Evidence-Based Practices Into HIV Prevention and Clinical Care: Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Study Using the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) Model
BACKGROUND: The Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) model is an implementation framework for studying the integration of evidence-based practices (EBPs) into real-world settings. The EPIS model conceptualizes implementation as a process starting with the earliest stages of problem recognition (Exploration) through the continued use of an EBP in a given clinical context (Sustainment). This is the first implementation science (IS) study of the integration of EBPs into adolescent HIV prevention and care settings.
OBJECTIVE: This protocol (ATN 153 EPIS) is part of the Scale It Up program, a research program administered by the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN), described in this issue by Naar et al. The EPIS study is a descriptive study of the uptake of 4 EBPs within the Scale It Up program. The goal of EPIS is to understand the barriers and facilitators associated with the Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment of EBPs into HIV prevention and clinical care settings.
METHODS: The EPIS study is a convergent parallel mixed-methods IS study. Key implementation stakeholders, that is, clinical care providers and leaders, located within 13 ATN sites across the United States will complete a qualitative interview conducted by telephone and Web-based surveys at 3 key implementation stages. The Preparation assessment occurs before EBP implementation, Implementation occurs immediately after sites finish implementation activities and prepare for sustainment, and Sustainment occurs 1 year postimplementation. Assessments will examine stakeholders' perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to EBP implementation within their clinical site as outlined by the EPIS framework.
RESULTS: The EPIS baseline period began in June 2017 and concluded in May 2018; analysis of the baseline data is underway. To date, 153 stakeholders have completed qualitative interviews, and 91.5% (140/153) completed the quantitative survey.
CONCLUSIONS: The knowledge gained from the EPIS study will strengthen the implementation and sustainment of EBPs in adolescent prevention and clinical care contexts by offering insights into the barriers and facilitators of successful EBP implementation and sustainment in real-world clinical contexts.