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August 2018
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Translating Health Services Research into Practice in the Safety Net

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Keywords: Health services research; safety net; innovation; translation;diffusion.

Objective: To summarize research relating to health services research translation in the safety net through analysis of the literature and case study of a safety net system.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Literature review and key informant interviews at an integrated safety net hospital.

Study Design: This paper describes the results of a comprehensive literature review of translational science literature as applied to health care paired with qualitative analysis of five key informant interviews conducted with senior-level management at Denver Health and Hospital Authority.

Principal Findings: Results from the literature suggest that implementing innovation may be more difficult in the safety net due to multiple factors, including financial and organizational constraints. Results from key informant interviews confirmed the reality of financial barriers to innovation implementation but also implied that factors, including institutional respect for data, organizational attitudes, and leadership support, could compensate for disadvantages.

Conclusions: Translating research into practice is of critical importance to safety net providers, which are under increased pressure to improve patient care and satisfaction. Results suggest that translational research done in the safety net can better illuminate the special challenges of this setting; more such research is needed.

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