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Concept: Normalization process model


BACKGROUND: Understanding implementation processes is key to ensuring that complex interventions in healthcare are taken up in practice and thus maximize intended benefits for service provision and (ultimately) care to patients. Normalization Process Theory (NPT) provides a framework for understanding how a new intervention becomes part of normal practice. This study aims to develop and validate simple generic tools derived from NPT, to be used to improve the implementation of complex healthcare interventions.Objectives: The objectives of this study are to: develop a set of NPT-based measures and formatively evaluate their use for identifying implementation problems and monitoring progress; conduct preliminary evaluation of these measures across a range of interventions and contexts, and identify factors that affect this process; explore the utility of these measures for predicting outcomes; and develop an online users' manual for the measures. METHODS: A combination of qualitative (workshops, item development, user feedback, cognitive interviews) and quantitative (survey) methods will be used to develop NPT measures, and test the utility of the measures in six healthcare intervention settings. DISCUSSION: The measures developed in the study will be available for use by those involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating complex interventions in healthcare and have the potential to enhance the chances of their implementation, leading to sustained changes in working practices.

Concepts: Process theory, Intervention, Identification, Development, Human Development Index, Scientific method, Normalization process model, Normalization Process Theory


Understanding and evaluating the implementation of complex interventions in practice is an important problem for healthcare managers and policy makers, and for patients and others who must operationalize them beyond formal clinical settings. It has been argued that this work should be founded on theory that provides a foundation for understanding, designing, predicting, and evaluating dynamic implementation processes. This paper sets out core constituents of a general theory of implementation, building on Normalization Process Theory and linking it to key constructs from recent work in sociology and psychology. These are informed by ideas about agency and its expression within social systems and fields, social and cognitive mechanisms, and collective action. This approach unites a number of contending perspectives in a way that makes possible a more comprehensive explanation of the implementation and embedding of new ways of thinking, enacting and organizing practice.

Concepts: Normalization process model, Explanation, Policy, Cognition, Normalization Process Theory, Scientific method, Psychology, Sociology


We aimed to improve the nutritional care of preterm infants by developing a complex (multifaceted) intervention intended to translate current evidence into practice. We used the sociological framework of Normalization Process Theory (NPT), to guide implementation in order to embed the new practices into routine care.

Concepts: Systems theory, Childbirth, Cultural studies, Philosophy of science, Pediatrics, Milk, Normalization process model, Normalization Process Theory


BACKGROUND: Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are often proposed as ‘technological fixes’ for problems facing healthcare. They promise to deliver services more quickly and cheaply. Yet research on the implementation of ICTs reveals a litany of delays, compromises and failures. Case studies have established that these technologies are difficult to embed in everyday healthcare. METHODS: We undertook an ethnographic comparative analysis of a single computer decision support system in three different settings to understand the implementation and everyday use of this technology which is designed to deal with calls to emergency and urgent care services. We examined the deployment of this technology in an established 999 ambulance call-handling service, a new single point of access for urgent care and an established general practice out-of-hours service. We used Normalization Process Theory as a framework to enable systematic cross-case analysis. RESULTS: Our data comprise nearly 500 hours of observation, interviews with 64 call-handlers, and stakeholders and documents about the technology and settings. The technology has been implemented and is used distinctively in each setting reflecting important differences between work and contexts. Using Normalisation Process Theory we show how the work (collective action) of implementing the system and maintaining its routine use was enabled by a range of actors who established coherence for the technology, secured buy-in (cognitive participation) and engaged in on-going appraisal and adjustment (reflexive monitoring). CONCLUSIONS: Huge effort was expended and continues to be required to implement and keep this technology in use. This innovation must be understood both as a computer technology and as a set of practices related to that technology, kept in place by a network of actors in particular contexts. While technologies can be ‘made to work’ in different settings, successful implementation has been achieved, and will only be maintained, through the efforts of those involved in the specific settings and if the wider context continues to support the coherence, cognitive participation, and reflective monitoring processes that surround this collective action. Implementation is more than simply putting technologies in place – it requires new resources and considerable effort, perhaps on an on-going basis.

Concepts: Self service software, Normalization process model, Knowledge engineering, Decision engineering, Data warehouse, Decision theory, Normalization Process Theory, Decision support system


Implementing shared decision making into routine practice is proving difficult, despite considerable interest from policy-makers, and is far more complex than merely making decision support interventions available to patients. Few have reported successful implementation beyond research studies. MAking Good Decisions In Collaboration (MAGIC) is a multi-faceted implementation program, commissioned by The Health Foundation (UK), to examine how best to put shared decision making into routine practice. In this paper, we investigate healthcare professionals' perspectives on implementing shared decision making during the MAGIC program, to examine the work required to implement shared decision making and to inform future efforts.

Concepts: Health care, Normalization process model, Decision engineering, Policy, Decision making, Normalization Process Theory, Implementation, Decision theory


Ageing societies and a rising prevalence of dementia are associated with increasing demand for care home places. Monitoring technologies (e.g. bed-monitoring systems; wearable location-tracking devices) are appealing to care homes as they may enhance safety, increase resident freedom, and reduce staff burden. However, there are ethical concerns about the use of such technologies, and it is unclear how they might be implemented to deliver their full range of potential benefits.

Concepts: Implementation, Care of residents, Home, Process theory, Society, Science, Normalization process model, Normalization Process Theory


Care management in primary care can be effective in helping patients with chronic disease improve their health status, however, primary care practices are often challenged with implementation. Further, there are different ways to structure care management that may make implementation more or less successful. Normalization process theory (NPT) provides a means of understanding how a new complex intervention can become routine (normalized) in practice. In this study, we used NPT to understand how care management structure affected how well care management became routine in practice.

Concepts: Medical terms, Explanation, Subroutine, Normalization process model, Philosophy of science, Medicine, Effect, Normalization Process Theory


National and international guidance emphasizes the need for hospitals to have effective secondary fracture prevention services, to reduce the risk of future fractures in hip fracture patients. Variation exists in how hospitals organize these services, and there remain significant gaps in care. No research has systematically explored reasons for this to understand how to successfully implement these services. The objective of this study was to use extended Normalization Process Theory to understand how secondary fracture prevention services can be successfully implemented.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Scientific method, Normalization process model, Management, Philosophy of science, Bone fracture, Implementation, Normalization Process Theory


Guidelines and training initiatives (G/TIs) available to support communication in cross-cultural primary health care consultations are not routinely used. We need to understand more about levers and barriers to their implementation and identify G/TIs likely to be successfully implemented in practice.

Concepts: Alliance for Healthy Cities, Philosophy of science, Normalization process model, Health care, Normalization Process Theory


BACKGROUND: The implementation of guidelines and training initiatives to support communication in crosscultural primary care consultations is ad hoc across a range of international settings with a range of negative consequences particularly for migrants. This situation reflects a welldocumented translational gap between evidence and practice and is part of the wider problem of implementing guidelines and the broader range of professional educational and quality interventions in routine practice. In this paper, we describe our use of a contemporary social theory, Normalization Process Theory and participatory research methodology–Participatory Learning and Action–to investigate and support implementation of such guidelines and training initiatives in routine practice. METHODS: This is a qualitative case study, using multiple primary care sites across Europe. Purposive and maximum variation sampling approaches will be used to identify and recruit stakeholders–migrant service users, general practitioners, primary care nurses, practice managers and administrative staff, interpreters, cultural mediators, service planners, and policy makers. We are conducting a mapping exercise to identify relevant guidelines and training initiatives. We will then initiate a PLA-brokered dialogue with stakeholders around Normalization Process Theory’s four constructs–coherence, cognitive participation, collective action, and reflexive monitoring. Through this, we will enable stakeholders in each setting to select a single guideline or training initiative for implementation in their local setting. We will prospectively investigate and support the implementation journeys for the five selected interventions. Data will be generated using a Participatory Learning and Action approach to interviews and focus groups. Data analysis will follow the principles of thematic analysis, will occur in iterative cycles throughout the project and will involve participatory co-analysis with key stakeholders to enhance the authenticity and veracity of findings. DISCUSSION: This research employs a unique combination of Normalization Process Theory and Participatory Learning and Action, which will provide a novel approach to the analysis of implementation journeys. The findings will advance knowledge in the field of implementation science because we are using and testing theoretical and methodological approaches so that we can critically appraise their scope to mediate barriers and improve the implementation processes.

Concepts: Policy, Sociology, General practitioner, Case study, Normalization process model, Normalization Process Theory, Scientific method, Qualitative research