Using Evidence-Based Constructs to Assess Extent of Implementation of Evidence-Based Interventions. How much time does it take to move across the bridge?


The amount of time it takes to progress across the Implementation Bridge can vary greatly. Data from MTFC suggest that the creating and implementing phase could take 2 to 3 years, and other work suggests that the creating phase could take between 6 months and a year (Blase & Fixsen, 2013). Implementing new programs, curricula, and reforms in schools takes 3 to 5 years (Hall & Hord, 2015).

The time it takes to achieve implementation success is based on a number of factors, including (a) the initial readiness of an organization or setting (Dymnicki et al., 2014), (b) intervention complexity, (c) how new or different the intervention is from existing practices, (d) the resistance expressed by different stakeholders and sources of that resistance along the way, and (e) how valuable or beneficial people consider the intervention will be once it is being implemented.

Information collected during the MTFC trial provides an example of the time needed to complete each stage (Chamberlain et al., 2011). Progression through the stages differed markedly by site. For example, counties in Site 1 spent almost 2 years in the creating stage but then moved quickly through the implementing stage in about a year before applying for and achieving certification. Counties in Site 2 moved more quickly through the creating stage (in about 8 months) but took about 4 years to implement and achieve certification. Counties in Site 3 discontinued implementation activities during the creating stage and skipped 7 of 13 recommended activities in that stage. Followup analyses found that sites were more likely to be successful in implementing MTFC if they progressed quickly and thoroughly completed activities in the creating stage (Saldana, Chamberlain, Wang, & Brown, 2012).

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