The Clinician Crowdsourcing Challenge: Using Participatory Design to Seed Implementation Strategies

Abstract [from journal]

Background: In healthcare settings, system and organization leaders often control the selection and design of implementation strategies even though frontline workers may have the most intimate understanding of the care delivery process, and factors that optimize and constrain evidence-based practice implementation within the local system. Innovation tournaments, a structured participatory design strategy to crowdsource ideas, are a promising approach to participatory design that may increase the effectiveness of implementation strategies by involving end users (i.e., clinicians). We utilized a system-wide innovation tournament to garner ideas from clinicians about how to enhance the use of evidence-based practices (EBPs) within a large public behavioral health system.

Methods: Our innovation tournament occurred in three phases. First, we invited over 500 clinicians to share, through a web-based platform, their ideas regarding how their organizations could best support use of EBPs. Clinicians could rate and comment on ideas submitted by others. Second, submissions were judged by an expert panel (including behavioral scientists, system leaders, and payers) based on their rated enthusiasm for the idea. Third, we held a community-facing event during which the six clinicians who submitted winning ideas presented their strategies to 85 attendees representing a cross-section of clinicians and system and organizational leaders.

Results: We had a high rate of participation (12.3%), more than double the average rate of previous tournaments conducted in other settings (5%). A total of 65 ideas were submitted by 55 participants representing 38 organizations. The most common categories of ideas pertained to training (42%), financing and compensation (26%), clinician support and preparation tools (22%), and EBP-focused supervision (17%). The expert panel and clinicians differed on their ratings of the ideas, highlighting value of seeking input from multiple stakeholder groups when developing implementation strategies.

Conclusions: Innovation tournaments are a useful and feasible methodology for engaging end users, system leaders, and behavioral scientists through a structured approach to developing implementation strategies. The process and resultant strategies engendered significant enthusiasm and engagement from participants at all levels of a healthcare system. Research is needed to compare the effectiveness of strategies developed through innovation tournaments to strategies developed through design approaches.