Background: Most stakeholder engagement occurs during issue prioritization and evidence generation, dropping off at the other end of the research spectrum: dissemination and translation into practice. This is especially problematic in rural settings where communities experience significant health disparities and healthcare leaders lack access to academic resources and timely, relevant evidence on which to base their treatment, funding, and programmatic decisions.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: The project team’s solution is to build infrastructure and capacity to disseminate evidence from patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER) studies throughout Maine, the most rural state in the nation, to address rural health disparities.
Objectives: To create a robust, sustainable infrastructure for disseminating evidence from PCOR/CER studies to organizations and leaders that can use this evidence to address the needs of patients and communities in rural Maine, ultimately reducing the time to implementation of evidence-based interventions and reducing rural health disparities.
Activities: Guided by the PCORI Dissemination Framework and Toolkit, the project activities are: 1. Formation of a Research Dissemination Advisory Panel to guide the development and adaptation of dissemination tools/frameworks for a rural setting; 2. Creation of a publicly-accessible evidence repository of PCOR/CER evidence that is applicable in rural Maine; 3. Creation of dissemination materials based on stakeholder feedback; 4. Establishing a pilot dissemination team that will plan/host learning events to build awareness and knowledge of evidence resources; 5. Evaluation of the project’s reach, engagement, and adoption and implementation of each building capacity activity.
Projected Outcomes and Outputs:
Short-term outcomes during the project period include: establishing the dissemination advisory panel; hiring and training a pilot dissemination team; creating the evidence repository, website, and communication plan; and hosting stakeholder studios across rural Maine.
These outcomes are critical to creating a sustainable infrastructure for dissemination of PCOR/CER findings in Maine. Deliverables include a roster and structure of the Advisory Panel, a dissemination team, an evidence repository, a website, a communication structure, and minutes from meetings and events.
Medium-term outcomes (0-2 years post-project period) include: Expanded reach in rural Maine, regular repository use by end-users, implementation of at least one PCOR/CER evidence-based intervention to reduce rural health disparities.
Long-term outcomes (3+ years post-project period) include: Expanded reach to Northern New England and implementation of more than two PCOR/CER evidence-based efforts.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The project team’s stakeholder engagement plan prioritizes meaningful involvement through all phases of the award. Given this objective, the project team focuses on healthcare leaders, payers, and other partners with critical roles in translating evidence into policy and practice, but also brings in patient and family voices. Stakeholders have been engaged in the development of this proposal, will be regularly engaged in meetings and stakeholder studios over the entire two years of the award, and will be compensated. The dissemination capacity built will directly benefit stakeholders, all of whom are invested in reducing health disparities in Maine.
Project Collaborators: Key Personnel and Advisory Panel members represent the three largest health systems in Maine, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Council on Aging, Community Care Partnership of Maine, and Maine Area Health Education Center.