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Novel laboratory works to improve population health and prepare transformational leaders


INDIANAPOLIS — A newly published paper describes and evaluates the Indiana University Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science, a novel virtual laboratory employing the tools of implementation science to improve population health, lower costs of its delivery and prepare future health care transformational leaders.

The authors report that in the short period — less than two years — since the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Indiana Clinical Translational Science Institute launched the center it has accomplished much. It has developed a groundbreaking curriculum and is now offering the first graduate level certificate in health innovation and implementation science in the United States. It has successfully scaled up (to a statewide level with potential for greater expansion) an evidence-based collaborative care model for older adults with cognitive and emotional disorders. It has also effectively engaged and partnered with various health care systems including Indiana University Health, Eskenazi Health, and the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in a growing number of arenas related to patient care, population health and workforce transformational development.

The paper is published in English in the peer-reviewed Zeitschrift für Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualität im Gesundheitswesen, formerly known as the German Journal for Quality in Health Care.

“The Indiana University Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science: Bridging Healthcare Research and Delivery to Build a Learning Healthcare System” is authored by Jose Azar, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine at IU School of Medicine and medical director of quality and patient safety at Indiana University Health; Nadia Adams, MHA, executive director of the IU Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science, and Malaz Boustani, M.D., MPH, chief operating officer of the IU Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science and the Richard M. Fairbanks Professor of Aging Research at IU School of Medicine.

“The IU Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science uses implementation science methodology to shorten the translational timeline between the discovery of evidence-based clinical solutions and the implementation of such solutions into the daily operation of the current health care delivery services,” said senior author Dr. Boustani. The founder of the center, he is also associate director of the IU Center for Aging Research, a Regenstrief Institute investigator, and director of the Eskenazi Health Center Healthy Aging Brain Center.

There are no microscopes, beakers, pipettes or mass spectrometers in this revolutionary laboratory. The Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science employs the new discipline of implementation science with the goals of improving patient care effectively and efficiently and of preparing the workforce — both clinicians and administrators — to accomplish this mission.

Implementation science focuses on developing tools, processes and strategies for rapid, efficient, and sustainable implementation of evidence-based programs and practices in the real world environments where health care is provided. Implementation science seeks to discover generalizable knowledge, scientific methodology, and reproducible approaches for the challenge of dissemination and scalability of planned and effective changes across various types of health care systems.

Both the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine have highlighted the critical need to improve the poor rate of translation of health care discoveries into daily practice.

The new paper concludes, “It is crucial to develop an agile, adaptable learning system, reaching beyond the hospital system that can provide a balance between the individual patient and population health, the hospital and home care, the expert and personal health care manager.”