Table 1

Key concepts in dissemination and implementation research and practice

ConceptDefinitionKey citation(s)
Evidence-based interventionAn activity (including programmes, policies, technologies, services, etc) that shows efficacy and/or effectiveness in the prevention, early detection, or treatment of diseases or related health conditions 32
DisseminationThe active process of spreading or sharing EBIs to a target population through determined channels and using planned strategies 32 34
Dissemination researchThe scientific study of the methods to promote or tailor the spread of knowledge to various stakeholders 32 34
ImplementationThe active process of using strategies across multiple levels of change to translate EBIs into practice and prompt corresponding behaviour change in a target population 33 35 36
Implementation researchThe scientific study of methods to promote the systematic translation of EBIs into routine practice 33
Knowledge translationThe dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination and implementation of knowledge 34
Scale-upA deliberate effort to increase the impact of an EBI that has been successfully implemented in pilot projects, and with the purpose of benefiting a large number of people and to foster policy for its sustainment 32
Maintenance (sustainment)The continued use of an EBI; an extension of adherence 37–39
FidelityThe extent to which an intervention is delivered as planned 40
AdherenceThe extent to which an individual’s behaviour corresponds with agreed recommendations from a (healthcare) practitioner or EBI developer; a fundamental implementation outcome and an EBI success indicator 41–44
Adaptation (modification)The process by which changes are made to an EBI and/or its delivery method to better fit a given implementation context 39 45
DiffusionSpread of new interventions in ‘passive, untargeted, unplanned and uncontrolled’ ways 32
Mis-implementationThe discontinuation of effective interventions and/or the continuation of ineffective interventions 32
De-implementationThe termination of interventions/practices that are ineffective and possibly harmful 32
AttritionDisengagement or drop-out from an EBI, particularly in terms of intervention non-use 29
D&I models (frameworks)Conceptual and organised combination of theories necessary to guide the planning and evaluation of EBIs and D&I strategies 38 44 46–50
  • Items in parentheses indicate alternative terminology. Key citations are a sample of references for definitions and concepts.

  • D&I, dissemination and implementation; EBI, evidence-based intervention.