Study protocol for "Study of Practices Enabling Implementation and Adaptation in the Safety Net (SPREAD-NET)": A pragmatic trial comparing implementation strategies

Rachel Gold, Celine Hollombe, Arwen Bunce, Christine Nelson, James V. Davis, Stuart Cowburn, Nancy Perrin, Jennifer DeVoe, Ned Mossman, Bruce Boles, Michael Horberg, James W. Dearing, Victoria Jaworski, Deborah Cohen, David Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Little research has directly compared the effectiveness of implementation strategies in any setting, and we know of no prior trials directly comparing how effectively different combinations of strategies support implementation in community health centers. This paper outlines the protocol of the Study of Practices Enabling Implementation and Adaptation in the Safety Net (SPREAD-NET), a trial designed to compare the effectiveness of several common strategies for supporting implementation of an intervention and explore contextual factors that impact the strategies' effectiveness in the community health center setting. Methods/design: This cluster-randomized trial compares how three increasingly hands-on implementation strategies support adoption of an evidence-based diabetes quality improvement intervention in 29 community health centers, managed by 12 healthcare organizations. The strategies are as follows: (arm 1) a toolkit, presented in paper and electronic form, which includes a training webinar; (arm 2) toolkit plus in-person training with a focus on practice change and change management strategies; and (arm 3) toolkit, in-person training, plus practice facilitation with on-site visits. We use a mixed methods approach to data collection and analysis: (i) baseline surveys on study clinic characteristics, to explore how these characteristics impact the clinics' ability to implement the tools and the effectiveness of each implementation strategy; (ii) quantitative data on change in rates of guideline-concordant prescribing; and (iii) qualitative data on the "how" and "why" underlying the quantitative results. The outcomes of interest are clinic-level results, categorized using the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework, within an interrupted time-series design with segmented regression models. This pragmatic trial will compare how well each implementation strategy works in "real-world" practices. Discussion: Having a better understanding of how different strategies support implementation efforts could positively impact the field of implementation science, by comparing practical, generalizable methods for implementing clinical innovations in community health centers. Bridging this gap in the literature is a critical step towards the national long-term goal of effectively disseminating and implementing effective interventions into community health centers. Trial registration:,

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 16 2015


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Community health centers
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Evidence-based
  • Quality improvement
  • Translational medical research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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