Beidas RS, Ahmedani BK, Linn KA, Marcus SC, Johnson C, Maye M, Westphal J, Wright L, Beck AL, Buttenheim AM, Daley MF, Davis M, Elias ME, Jager-Hyman S, Hoskins K, Lieberman A, McArdle B, Ritzwoller DP, Small DS, Wolk CB, Williams NJ, and Boggs JM. Study protocol for a type III hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial of strategies to implement firearm safety promotion as a universal suicide prevention strategy in pediatric primary care. Implement Sci 2021; 16(1):89.
BACKGROUND: Insights from behavioral economics, or how individuals' decisions and behaviors are shaped by finite cognitive resources (e.g., time, attention) and mental heuristics, have been underutilized in efforts to increase the use of evidence-based practices in implementation science. Using the example of firearm safety promotion in pediatric primary care, which addresses an evidence-to-practice gap in universal suicide prevention, we aim to determine: is a less costly and more scalable behavioral economic-informed implementation strategy (i.e., "Nudge") powerful enough to change clinician behavior or is a more intensive and expensive facilitation strategy needed to overcome implementation barriers?
METHODS: The Adolescent and child Suicide Prevention in Routine clinical Encounters (ASPIRE) hybrid type III effectiveness-implementation trial uses a longitudinal cluster randomized design. We will test the comparative effectiveness of two implementation strategies to support clinicians' use of an evidence-based firearm safety practice, S.A.F.E. Firearm, in 32 pediatric practices across two health systems. All pediatric practices in the two health systems will receive S.A.F.E. Firearm materials, including training and cable locks. Half of the practices (k = 16) will be randomized to receive Nudge; the other half (k = 16) will be randomized to receive Nudge plus 1 year of facilitation to target additional practice and clinician implementation barriers (Nudge+). The primary implementation outcome is parent-reported clinician fidelity to the S.A.F.E Firearm program. Secondary implementation outcomes include reach and cost. To understand how the implementation strategies work, the primary mechanism to be tested is practice adaptive reserve, a self-report practice-level measure that includes relationship infrastructure, facilitative leadership, sense-making, teamwork, work environment, and culture of learning.
DISCUSSION: The ASPIRE trial will integrate implementation science and behavioral economic approaches to advance our understanding of methods for implementing evidence-based firearm safety promotion practices in pediatric primary care. The study answers a question at the heart of many practice change efforts: which strategies are sufficient to support change, and why? Results of the trial will offer valuable insights into how best to implement evidence-based practices that address sensitive health matters in pediatric primary care.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04844021 . Registered 14 April 2021.