We have the program, what now? Development of an implementation plan to bridge the research-practice gap prevalent in exercise oncology
Background: Exercise has emerged as a promising therapy for people with cancer. Novel programs have been developed to translate research into practice; however, implementation barriers have limited their success in part because successful translation of exercise oncology research into practice requires context-specific implementation plans. The aim of this study was to employ the implementation mapping protocol to develop an implementation plan to support programming of a co-located exercise clinic and cancer treatment center.
Methods: The Implementation Mapping protocol, which consists of five specific iterative tasks, was used. A stakeholder advisory group advised throughout the process.
Results: A comprehensive needs assessment was used to identify the organization’s general manager as the program adopter; oncologists, center leaders, and various administrative staff as program implementers; and the operations manager as the program maintainer. Twenty performance objectives were identified. The theoretical domains framework was used to identify likely determinants of change, which informed the selection of eight individual implementation strategies across the individual and organizational levels. Finally, an evaluation plan was developed which will be used to measure the success of the implementation plan in the project’s next phase.
Conclusion: The Implementation Mapping protocol provided a roadmap to guide development of a comprehensive implementation plan that considered all ecological domains, was informed by theory, and demonstrated an extensive understanding of the implementation context. Strong research-practitioner partnerships and effective stakeholder engagement were critical to development of the plan.
Keywords: Cancer, Physical activity, Knowledge translation, Organizational change, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy
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