Implementation effectiveness of health interventions for indigenous communities: a systematic review

Aug 05, 2019 | Harding

BACKGROUND: Translating research into practice is an important issue for implementing health interventions effectively for Indigenous communities. He Pikinga Waiora (HPW) is a recent implementation framework that provides a strong foundation for designing and implementing health interventions in Indigenous communities for non-communicable diseases around community engagement, culture-centred approach, systems thinking and integrated knowledge translation. This study addresses the following research question: How are the elements of the HPW Implementation Framework reflected in studies involving the implementation of a non-communicable disease health intervention in an Indigenous community?

METHODS: A systematic review was conducted using multiple databases. Studies were included if they involved the implementation or evaluation of a health intervention targeting non-communicable diseases for Indigenous communities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States of America. Published quantitative and qualitative literature from 2008 to 2018 were included. Methodological appraisal of the included articles was completed using the Joanna Briggs Institute System for the Unified Management, Assessment and Review of Information. Data on the population, topic, methods, and outcomes were detailed for each individual study. Key data extracted included the HPW elements along with study characteristics, who delivered the intervention and health outcomes. Data analysis involved a qualitative synthesis of findings as guided by a coding scheme of the HPW elements.

RESULTS: Twenty-one studies were included. Health topics included diabetes, nutrition, weight loss, cancer and general health. The key themes were as follows: (a) two thirds of studies demonstrated high levels of community engagement; (b) from the culture-centred approach, two-thirds of studies reflected moderate to high levels of community voice/agency although only a third of the studies included structural changes and researcher reflexivity; (c) about a quarter of studies included multi-level outcomes and activities consistent with systems thinking, 40% had individual-level outcomes with some systems thinking, and 33% included individual-level outcomes and limited systems thinking; and (d) almost 40% of studies included high levels of end user (e.g., policy makers and tribal leaders) engagement reflective of integrated knowledge translation, but nearly half had limited end-user engagement.

CONCLUSIONS: The HPW Implementation Framework is a comprehensive model for potentially understanding implementation effectiveness in Indigenous communities. The review suggests that the studies are reflective of high levels of community engagement and culture-centredness. The long-term sustainability and translation of evidence to practice may be inhibited because of lower levels of systems thinking and integrated knowledge translation. REGISTRATION: Not registered.

PubMed Abstract

Harding, T., & Oetzel, J. (2019). Implementation effectiveness of health interventions for indigenous communities: a systematic review. Implement Sci, 14(1), 76. doi:10.1186/s13012-019-0920-4