The barriers and facilitators influencing the sustainability of hospital-based interventions: a systematic review



Cowie J, Nicoll A, Dimova ED, Campbell P & Duncan EA (2020) The barriers and facilitators influencing the sustainability of hospital-based interventions: a systematic review. BMC Health Services Research, 20, Art. No.: 588.

Background Identifying factors that influence sustained implementation of hospital-based interventions is key to ensuring evidence-based best practice is maintained across the NHS. This study aimed to identify, appraise and synthesise the barriers and facilitators that influenced the delivery of sustained healthcare interventions in a hospital-based setting. Methods A systematic review reported in accordance with PRISMA. Eight electronic databases were reviewed in addition to a hand search of Implementation Science journal and reference lists of included articles. Two reviewers were used to screen potential abstracts and full text papers against a selection criteria. Study quality was also independently assessed by two reviewers. Barriers and facilitators were extracted and mapped to a consolidated sustainability framework. Results Our searching identified 154,757 records. We screened 14,626 abstracts and retrieved 431 full text papers, of which 32 studies met the selection criteria. The majority of studies employed a qualitative design (23/32) and were conducted in the UK (8/32) and the USA (8/32). Interventions or programmes were all multicomponent, with the majority aimed at improving the quality of patient care and/ or safety (22/32). Sustainability was inconsistently reported across 30 studies. Barriers and facilitators were reported in all studies. The key facilitators included a clear accountability of roles and responsibilities (23/32); ensuring the availability of strong leadership and champions advocating the use of the intervention (22/32), and provision of adequate support available at an organisational level (21/32). The most frequently reported barrier to sustainability was inadequate staff resourcing (15/32). Our review also identified the importance of inwards spread and development of the initiative over time, as well as the unpredictability of sustainability and the need for multifaceted approaches. Conclusions This review has important implications for practice and research as it increases understanding of the factors that faciliate and hinder intervention sustainability. It also highlights the need for more consistent and complete reporting of sustainability to ensure that lessons learned can be of direct benefit to future implementation of interventions.

Barriers; Dynamic; Facilitators; Hospital-based interventions; Implementation; Sustainability; Systematic review

BMC Health Services Research: Volume 20

FundersCSO Chief Scientist Office
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online28/06/2020
Date accepted by journal15/06/2020

People (1)


Professor Edward Duncan

Professor Edward Duncan

Professor, NMAHP

Projects (1)