Behavioural and Implementation Research and Evaluation

Understanding behaviour and context are key to translating evidence into real world healthcare settings, cost-effectively and sustainably. This stream of work includes a range of implementation science and behavioural research projects, focused on effective implementation of evidence into health settings. The Behavioural and Implementation Research and Evaluation (BIRdE) team has expertise in measuring behavioural and contextual factors affecting evidence translation; co-designing tailored, targeted, and generalisable strategies; and identifying key mechanisms behind intervention success. The team collaborates widely with Cancer Council NSW cancer control program leaders, health services, and researchers nationally and internationally, to innovate, improve and evaluate the way evidence is implemented in Australia.

Implementation research

Implementation research investigates methods of promoting the systematic and effective application of evidence into practice. The team conducts implementation research and supports evidence-based implementation. A selection of major ongoing projects include:

  • The Hide and Seek Project: a cluster randomised controlled trial to identify and overcome barriers to Lynch syndrome referral. The project aims to result in better screening of at-risk patients and early diagnosis. It will inform policy makers on the best value approaches for implementing clinical guidelines for genetic testing.  In parallel, the team is conducting an in-depth, mixed methods process evaluation to gain an understanding of the factors influencing the effectiveness of the implementation approaches being tested in the trial.
  • ALIGN: In collaboration with the Behavioural Science Unit at UNSW and Sydney Children’s Hospital, ALIGN is a program of research that aims to develop and assess the implementation effectiveness for a tripartite of resources to help address issues in drug access and communication for children with hard to treat cancers.
  • Engage: Evaluation of an implementation trial of the efficacy of a nurse-led intervention (Engage) is designed to engage survivors of childhood cancer into essential lifelong survivorship care for the prevention and management of ongoing treatment related conditions. The team is developing implementation strategies to facilitate cost-effective and successful implementation of the Engage intervention nationally.
Training in evidence-based implementation

The BIRdE team specialises in the delivery of training for evidence-based implementation of clinical practice guidelines, and providing mentoring support in implementation science (e.g. Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health – TIDIRH-Australia). Our training workshops and toolkits in evidence-based implementation have been rolled out to over 1000 UK and Australian healthcare workers (e.g. TRANSLATE). As part of our HaSP trial, the team has trained healthcare professionals from eight Australian health organisations across three states to roll out evidence-based implementation of Lynch syndrome referral guidelines, with ongoing coaching provided by the BIRdE team. The insights gained from the ‘Implementation Leads’ is being fed into process evaluation research, trial refinements, and future training package updates.

Evaluating the effectiveness of Cancer Council programs and services

Cancer Council NSW runs a variety of programs designed to help prevent cancer, and to inform and support people with cancer, their carers and family, and the wider NSW community. The BIRdE team provides support to over 20 programs across Cancer Council NSW to assist with assessing the impact of programs. This approach provides a platform for quality improvement and impact tracking, and identifying new strategic research opportunities.

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