DECIDE study – using evidence to spread innovation
The network has been involved in the “DEcisions in health Care to Introduce or Diffuse innovations using Evidence” (DECIDE) study, led by researchers at the University of Manchester and University College London.
The researchers reviewed the literature to find out what is already known about evidence use for innovation from qualitative studies. Informed by the literature review, they used a novel adaptation of discrete choice experiment methods to delve deeper into decision-makers’ reported preferences for different types of evidence.
They then followed 3 examples of decision-making about innovations in the NHS, including stroke service reconfiguration, to find out how evidence was used in the ‘real-world’. Finally, they combined the learning from these three studies to produce some practical guidance to support evidence use in decision-making on innovation.
Policy and practice implications
- Assembling evidence that can be used to evaluate multiple forms of impact would fit with decision-makers’ expressed priorities for evidence. However, evidence of impact is necessary but not sufficient for evaluating innovations, as characteristics relating to context (e.g. credible source) and implementation (e.g. changes to resources, staff roles) are critical.
- To enhance perceived credibility and impact of their research, producers of evidence should work through local system organisations, share accessible findings (e.g. short/ visual summaries), and develop long-term relationships with research users.
- Sound decision-making on introducing or diffusing innovations is more likely in contexts where: evidence highlighting a range of impacts is available; implementation issues have been anticipated early in decision-making; and there is a receptive local context for evaluating evidence
- Organisational leaders need to consider the ways in which the environment surrounding decision-making encourages, or works against, the inclusion and reconciliation of diverse evidence and perspectives.
The DECIDE guide, derived from the study findings, outlines six key themes, and associated questions, for informing decisions about introducing or spreading innovations using evidence.
- DEFINITION: Can the innovation and its potential impact be clearly described?
- EVIDENCE: What evidence is available in relation to the innovation?
- STAKEHOLDERS: Who will be involved in decisions and how?
- DRIVERS: What are the key external and internal drivers for introducing innovation?
- ORGANISATION: What organisational factors should be considered during decision-making?
- IMPLEMENTATION: Can likely barriers and enablers to implementation be anticipated early in decision-making?
The final report, other outputs, and the DECIDE guide can be downloaded from the project webpage.