Closing the Gap between Rigor and Relevance
Methodological Opportunities for Implementation Science to Address the HIV Epidemic
Implementation science is an emerging field focused on closing the gap between efficacious interventions and real world practice. While the HIV research community has enthusiastically embraced the motivation for implementation science, there is far less consensus on the critical approaches to successful conduct of implementation science in the context of the HIV epidemic. Many methodological issues, which have perhaps been less emphasized in traditional clinical research, are particularly salient for knowledge about implementation. External validity is as important as internal validity. Context is a crucial. Engagement with diverse stakeholders is requisite. Managing flaws in data from electronic clinical records can render more representative data most useful. Implementation science, therefore, seeks not simply more research, but rather different research. If successful, this conversation will both use HIV research to advance implementation science more generally, as well as bring emerging perspectives to bear on the HIV epidemic.