Health Services Research Centre for UnderStanding TailOred iMplementation Involving Stakeholders, Evidence and skills Development (CUSTOMISED) for policy and practice

I will find ways to answer one of the most pressing and difficult questions facing health systems around the world- how do we implement effective changes in everyday healthcare in a way that is acceptable and practical for health professionals and service users?

We know from research that there are many things that health systems can do to improve a person’s health, their quality of life and their experience of services. But, health professionals face many barriers when trying to delivery care and so a gap persists between what should happen and what actually happens. This is known as the ‘implementation gap’.

With this award, I will develop and evaluate ways to bridge the implementation gap. I will set up a national hub to connect researchers with health professionals, managers and policy makers at local, regional, national levels of the Health Service Executive (HSE), who will use our results to implement changes in their own settings. People using health services will be involved throughout the research programme, with some participating in the research and others advising on how to do the research.

To start, my research will focus on two national priorities with known implementation gaps: services for people with diabetes, and services for older people living in the community. My research team will use a range of methods to identify and prioritise barriers to implementation, select appropriate strategies and test and evaluate their effect. I will train researchers and practitioners involved in implementation to build expertise in Ireland and establish a network of people interested in this topic. Partnering with service users, health professionals, managers and policy makers will ensure the results of this research have a direct influence on real-world efforts to implement evidence in the health system, to improve quality of care and population health.

The overarching aim is to accelerate and enhance the implementation of evidence into policy and practice by developing a national hub and international center of excellence for implementation science in Ireland.

I will-

  1. lead research on the process and impact of tailoring strategies to improve the implementation of evidence-based interventions for older people and those with chronic conditions, and
  2. build researcher and practitioner capacity in knowledge translation through embedded research, training and networking, thereby establishing implementation research as a distinct and integral part of the research translation pipeline.
Award Date
14 February 2020
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Sheena McHugh
Host Institution
University College Cork
RL FA 2020