What is an Implementation Strategy?

An implementation strategy is what makes the uptake of innovations in healthcare settings possible. It is a method or technique to enhance the likelihood that providers and staff will use and continue using a new practice or program. An implementation strategy can be “discrete,” referring to a single action or process to impact sustained change. For example, organizing an annual training on SGM-specific cultural competence represents a discrete, single-component implementation strategy. Discrete strategies are usually insufficient for large-scale organizational change. Such change typically requires the use of “multifaceted” implementation strategies that combine discrete strategies.1 In addition to holding an annual training on SGM-specific cultural competence, a multifaceted implementation strategy might pair this event with ongoing supervision to support providers’ use of SGM culturally competent care.

We recommend a multifaceted approach to implementation using an Implementation Team and a cyclical process to conduct initial and ongoing organizational assessments that highlight areas for improvement. This approach also involves developing Action Plans to target these areas by defining more narrow goals, SMART objectives, and activities. Consider the implementation strategy as an overall broad rubric to guide change efforts, and SMART objectives (see Chapter 8) as the more narrowly focused, detailed steps or activities the organization can take toward making and measuring change.