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Table 2 A summary of the challenges, their causes and strategies to resolve them

From: Integrating research and system-wide practice in public health: lessons learnt from Better Start Bradford

Challenge Possible Causes Strategies
1. Researchers, Communities and Stakeholders often have different priorities and timeframes of research outputs. Differing areas of expertise.
A lack of shared understanding of each groups’ main concerns.
• Identify and involve relevant communities and stakeholders at all stages.
• Establish community and/or stakeholder groups and host consultation events.
• Have a presence in the community and in practice by hosting regular outreach and education events.
2. It can be difficult to accommodate the requirements of the evaluation, implementation and delivery of the intervention within service design. The demands of scientific rigour in data collection and intervention development may be at odds with the practical needs of delivery. • Use and adapt the toolkits presented in this paper to aid service design and ensure the needs of commissioners, providers and evaluators are all considered in a structured and efficient way.
3a. There may be gaps in the collection or entry of routine data that are required for evaluation. The use of clinical data for evaluation is not usually considered by practitioners. • Develop training sessions and manuals for practitioners to empower them to collect data that is useful for research.
• Work with data teams to modify databases to make it easier to collect required data.
• Work with commissioners to modify service level specifications regarding data collection.
3b. Services may use non-validated measures to assess outcomes. Validated measures can be complex and burdensome to participants. Measures may not appear relevant to practitioners • Co-production / selection of validated measures involving practitioners, service providers, community members and researchers.
3c. Organisations may be concerned about sharing data. Organisations may have different interpretations of the same laws and acts. • Building of good relationships with key stakeholders.
• Prompt sharing of findings with organisations to support their practice and planning.
• Develop consent and privacy notices with stakeholders and the community.
4. It may be difficult to easily identify early successes and challenges in intervention implementation. Service providers/ commissioners capture too much information and/or information that is not appropriate for monitoring/evaluation. • Use the toolkits presented in this paper to ensure the right data is collected.
• Co-produce key progression criteria to allow early identification of success and/or areas of potential concern that can then result in adaptations to enhance performance.
5. Service providers and commissioners are pressured to find quick answers, but rigorous evaluation can take much longer. Differing areas of expertise and priorities. Many interventions require in-depth implementation evaluations before they are ready for effectiveness evaluations. Long-term evaluations can seem daunting to service providers. • Use the evaluation framework presented in this paper to set expectations, ensure that the necessary groundwork is completed and answer important implementation questions before embarking on effectiveness evaluations.