Implementation science can create a workforce equipped for new health care environment

May 8, 2014

The new Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science at the IU School of Medicine and Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute is studying how best to prepare the future health care workforce as the country's population ages.

Malaz Boustani

Malaz Boustani

The center calls upon the tools of implementation science to enable these workers and the health systems that will employ them to provide optimal care in a rapidly changing health care environment.

"Implementation science will allow us to innovate in low-resource environments and provide personalized and population health management," said Malaz Boustani, M.D., MPH, the chief operating officer of the Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science. "We need a workforce that can provide high-quality, patient-centered and cost-efficient health care in this environment."

Dr. Boustani and other IU researchers and staff presented their vision for the use of implementation science to prepare for the future of health care in "Preparing the Public Health Workforce with the Tools of Implementation Science," a poster presentation at the 10th Annual Health Workforce Research Conference hosted by the Association of American Medical Colleges' Center for Workforce Studies on May 1 and 2.

The theme of the conference was “Finding the Right Fit: The Health Workforce Needed to Support the Affordable Care Act.” Poster contributors were Macey L. Henderson, J.D., and Connor W. Norwood, MHA, a doctoral students at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI; and Nadia Adams, MHA, and Dr. Boustani of the Center for Health Innovation & Implementation Science.

The presentation outlined the establishment of research and discovery units within health systems to serve as the infrastructure for testing, studying, evaluating and refining strategies to disseminate and implement evidence-based practices that focus on patient outcomes. The team also investigated the impact of dissemination and implementation research when managing a population of patients.

It is the the same model currently used by the Center for Health Innovation and Implemenatation Science, which manages research and discovery units at IU Health University Hospital, IU Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, Eskanazi Hospital and the Richard L. Roudebush VA in Indianapolis.

A new discipline, Dr. Boustani said implementation science provides tools to clinicians and administrators to deliver better care and better health at lower costs by equipping them with both theoretical and applied knowledge on how to successfully implement, localize and evaluate evidence-based practice. It also promotes innovation and invention of new models of care and processes when evidence does not exist. 

The center uses the tools of implementation science to rapidly translate and implement high-quality, cost-effective health care delivery solutions within local, regional national and international health care systems, striking a balance between the strengths of both academic medicine and corporate health care. The center also plans to soon offer certificate and master's level training in health innovation and implementation science.

Dr. Boustani is also an associate professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine, chief innovation and implementation officer at IU Health, and a scientists with the IU Center for Aging Research and a Regenstrief Institute.

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