Commentary on “Connecting Implementation Science and Data Modernization”

Jan 19,2022 | Lisa DiMartino Commentary

To kick off our first Consortium for Implementation Science newsletter of 2022, this month’s commentary highlights our annual webinar.  On November 29th, we gathered virtually for the forum “Connecting Implementation Science and Data Modernization”.  The forum featured presentations from Dr. Melissa McPheeters (RTI International), Dr. Jessie Tenenbaum (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services), Dr. Anne Sales (University of Missouri at Columbia), and Dr. David Clark (National Institutes of Health).   Dr. Jen Popovic from RTI International moderated the discussion.  Dr. McPheeters kicked it off with an overview of data modernization and its importance for public health data systems in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.   Dr. Tenenbaum provided a unique perspective on data modernization by sharing her on-the-ground experience with COVID-19 data at the state level.  Next, Dr. Sales described applying the concept of implementation science to data modernization, including positioning behavior change for data modernization across the multiple levels of health care delivery.  Lastly, Dr. Clark gave us an overview of NIH grant writing tips for responding to current implementation science funding opportunities.  Several takeaways from the discussion were: the need for understanding the workflow and process mapping as it pertains to electronic data flow – where to the data come from?  What processes generate those data?  How do humans then interface with the process? (or, “Going to Gemba” as Dr. Sales put it!), clearly defining what the data modernization intervention is and the level of evidence needed to make the case the intervention is ready for implementation, and if it is ready for implementation, do we have sufficient and dedicated workforce to put these types of initiatives into practice (e.g., Clinical Nurse Leaders, QI specialists)?

In sum, it is hoped the webinar helped to demystify what data modernization is a bit more, and illuminate that what researchers need to think about when it comes to implementing data modernization initiatives is perhaps not so different than applying implementation science to other more familiar topic areas.      

We sincerely thank everyone for taking the time to join this event and your active engagement with the presenters.  If you were not able to attend, a recording of the webinar and slide presentations can be found here.  I also wanted to highlight several of the articles from the presentations that may be of interest: 

We hope that these resources may be of use to you and inform your implementation efforts in the new year.   We look forward to our next CIS webinar, and we welcome any suggestions you have on what may be good topics to feature for future events.