Integrating Science and Engineering to Implement Evidence-Based Practices in Health Care Settings

Shinyi Wu, Naihua Duan, Jennifer P. Wisdom, Richard L. Kravitz, Richard R. Owen, J. Greer Sullivan, Albert W. Wu, Paul Di Capua, Kimberly Eaton Hoagwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Integrating two distinct and complementary paradigms, science and engineering, may produce more effective outcomes for the implementation of evidence-based practices in health care settings. Science formalizes and tests innovations, whereas engineering customizes and optimizes how the innovation is applied tailoring to accommodate local conditions. Together they may accelerate the creation of an evidence-based healthcare system that works effectively in specific health care settings. We give examples of applying engineering methods for better quality, more efficient, and safer implementation of clinical practices, medical devices, and health services systems. A specific example was applying systems engineering design that orchestrated people, process, data, decision-making, and communication through a technology application to implement evidence-based depression care among low-income patients with diabetes. We recommend that leading journals recognize the fundamental role of engineering in implementation research, to improve understanding of design elements that create a better fit between program elements and local context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-592
Number of pages5
JournalAdministration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 22 2015


  • Evidence-based practices
  • Generalizable knowledge
  • Implementation engineering
  • Implementation science
  • Knowledge generation
  • Local knowledge
  • Science and engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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