The importance of readiness when implementing an EBI raises a variety of questions for practitioners, funders, training and technical assistance (TTA) providers, and researchers, including:
- How can funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) measure the readiness of grantees to implement EBIs with quality?
- How can TTA resources be used to assess and support implementation readiness?
- How can funders partner with TTA providers and practitioners to enable more organizations to become ready to implement EBIs with quality? Attention to the readiness of grantees during the grant making process and through TTA may improve the likelihood that grantees will succeed in implementing their proposed interventions with fidelity and can achieve the outcomes projected in their applications.
A framework can be helpful in providing a big picture for integrating research and practice to achieve outcomes and to illustrate the roles of practitioners, researchers/evaluators, TTA providers, and funders in this process. Wandersman and colleagues (2008) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and elsewhere developed the Interactive Systems Framework for Dissemination and Implementation (ISF) to help bridge research and practice in innovative ways. The ISF describes three interacting systems: the Delivery System is the organization(s) or community setting that actually implements interventions (e.g., mental health centers, schools). The Delivery System needs sufficient general capacity, motivation, and intervention-specific capacity (i.e., readiness) to be ready to implement an intervention with quality to achieve outcomes. The Support System (e.g., training and technical assistance centers) uses strategies like TTA to strengthen the Delivery System’s ability to be ready to implement interventions with quality (Wandersman et al., 2012). The Synthesis and Translation System synthesizes the products of research and translates them into user-friendly formats that practitioners in the Support and Delivery Systems can easily access and understand. One of the benefits of using a framework such as the ISF to understand readiness is its ability to show how different systems in an organization and community interact to promote readiness. For example, the Support System can provide targeted TTA based on the Delivery System organizations’ readiness needs (e.g., TTA can be provided specifically to improve the motivation of frontline staff). See the sidebar for more information about the ISF and how it is being used to synthesize and translate research to be ready for practitioners’ use and how funders use it to diagnose major gaps in the logic that would lead to outcomes.