Operationalizing the RE-AIM framework to evaluate the impact of multi-sector partnerships

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Background The RE-AIM (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) framework is a reliable tool for the translation of research to practice. This framework has been widely applied to assess the impact of individual interventions. However, RE-AIM has rarely been used to evaluate implementation interventions, especially from multi-sector partnerships. The primary purpose of this paper is to operationalize the RE-AIM approach to evaluate large, multi-sector partnerships. SCI Action Canada, a community-university partnership aimed to promote physical activity among adults with spinal cord injury, is used as an example. A secondary purpose is to provide initial data from SCI Action Canada by using this conceptualization of RE-AIM. Methods Each RE-AIM element is operationalized for multi-sector partnerships. Specific to SCI Action Canada, seven reach calculations, four adoption rates, four effectiveness outcomes, one implementation, one organizational maintenance, and two individual maintenance outcomes are defined. The specific numerators based on SCI Action Canada activities are also listed for each of these calculations. Results The results are derived from SCI Action Canada activities. SCI Action Canada’s reach ranged from 3% (end-user direct national reach) to 37% (total regional reach). Adoption rates were 15% (provincial level adoption) to 76% (regional level adoption). Implementation and organizational maintenance rates were 92% and 100%, respectively. Conclusions We have operationalized the RE-AIM framework for larger multi-sectoral partnerships and demonstrated its applicability to such partnerships with SCI Action Canada. Future partnerships could use RE-AIM to assess their public health impact.

Implementation Science. 2014 Jun 12;9(1):74