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Does the ‘diffusion of innovations’ model enrich understanding of research use? Case studies of the implementation of thrombolysis services for stroke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
JournalJournal of health services research & policy
Issue number4
Early online date22 Mar 2016
E-pub ahead of print22 Mar 2016
PublishedOct 2016


King's Authors


Objectives: To test the applicability of the model of diffusion of innovations as an analytical framework to explore the implementation of evidence based thrombolysis services for stroke patients.
Methods: Four empirical case studies of the implementation of evidence into stroke services in England and Sweden. Data were drawn from 95 semi structured interviews with a range of clinical and managerial staff within four hospitals, working in stroke units, emergency medicine, radiology, the ambulance service, community rehabilitation services and community medicine.
Results: The implementation of thrombolysis in acute stroke management benefited from a critical mass of factors featured within the model including, the support of national and local opinion leaders, a strong evidence base and financial incentives. However, while the model provided a starting point as an organizational framework for mapping the critical factors influencing implementation, to properly understand the process of implementation and explore the importance of the different factors identified requires a more fine grained analyses of context and, in particular, of the human and social dimensions of change.
Conclusions: While recognising the importance of models in mapping the processes by which the diffusion of innovations occurs, future studies would benefit from a greater use of methods that lend themselves to in-depth analysis such as ethnography and the application of relevant bodies of social theory.

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