Proctor E, Ramsey AT, Saldana L, Maddox TM, Chambers DA, Brownson RC. FAST: A Framework to Assess Speed of Translation of Health Innovations to Practice and Policy. Glob Implement Res Appl. 2022;2(2):107-119. doi:10.1007/s43477-022-00045-4
A known challenge for translational research is the gap of time from discovery to practical application into routine public health practice or clinical care. This paper offers a first step to conducting research on implementation speed and aims to understand the complexities of implementation speed, offer a framework to assess speed of translation (FAST), and provide guidance on how to measure speed in evaluating implementation efforts. First, the paper discussed different perspectives on the optimal pace of implementation processes and the balance of risks and benefits related to slower or quicker implementation. The benefits for quicker implementation are responding rapidly to health and social crises, applying an anticipatory approach to social and health service systems, and addressing healthcare and social inequities in prevention and care. The benefit of slower implementation is ensuring there is adequate evidence for safe and successful implementation. Three complex factors were identified that should be considered in studying implementation speed: (1) varying stakeholders’ priorities for speed, (2) what referent is speed being measured, and (3) observation time windows in research studies. To address these complexities and challenges, the authors proposed a Framework to Assess Speed of Translation (FAST) to guide research and inform a set of parameters and metrics for capturing speed, factors that affect speed, and the effects of speed on implementation. Future research is needed to describe speed and develop metrics, examine innovation, adopter, and contextual influences, identify specific strategies to accelerate speed, assess the effect of implementation speed on outcomes, and develop designs for testing speed.