“During early implementation you just muddle through”: factors that impacted a statewide arthritis program’s implementation

Mar 11, 2017 | K. P. Conte, S. Marie Harvey and R. Turner Goins

The need to scale-up effective arthritis self-management programs is pressing as the prevalence of arthritis increases. The CDC Arthritis Program funds state health departments to work with local delivery systems to embed arthritis programs into their day-to-day work. To encourage organizational ownership and sustainability of programs, funding is restricted to offset program start-up costs. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that impacted the success of implementing an evidence-based arthritis self-management program, funded by the CDC Arthritis Program, into the Oregon Extension Service. We interviewed staff and partners involved in implementation who had and had not successfully delivered Walk With Ease (N = 12) to identify barriers and facilitators to scaling-up. Document analysis of administrative records was used to triangulate and expand on findings. Delivery goals defined by the funder were not met in Year 1: only 3 of the expected 28 programs were delivered. Barriers to implementation included insufficient planning for implementation driven by pressure to deliver programs and insufficient resources to support staff time. Facilitators included centralized administration of key implementation activities and staffs’ previous experience implementing new programs. The importance of planning and preparing for implementation cannot be overlooked. Funders, however, eager to see deliverables, continue to define implementation goals in terms of program reach, exclusive of capacity-building. Lack of capacity-building can jeopardize staff buy-in, implementation quality, and sustainability. Based on our findings coupled with support from implementation literature, we offer recommendations for future large-scale implementation efforts operating under such funding restrictions.

PubMed Abstract

Conte KP, Marie Harvey S, Turner Goins R. "During early implementation you just muddle through": factors that impacted a statewide arthritis program's implementation. Translational behavioral medicine. 2017.