The Building Blocks of Implementation Frameworks and Models in Primary Care: A Narrative Review

Ine Huybrechts, Anja Declercq, Emily Verté, Peter Raeymaeckers, Sibyl Anthierens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
84 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Our aim is to identify the core building blocks of existing implementation frameworks and models, which can be used as a basis to further develop a framework for the implementation of complex interventions within primary care practices. Within the field of implementation science, various frameworks, and models exist to support the uptake of research findings and evidence-based practices. However, these frameworks and models often are not sufficiently actionable or targeted for use by intervention designers. The objective of this research is to map the similarities and differences of various frameworks and models, in order to find key constructs that form the foundation of an implementation framework or model that is to be developed. Methods: A narrative review was conducted, searching for papers that describe a framework or model for implementation by means of various search terms, and a snowball approach. The core phases, components, or other elements of each framework or model are extracted and listed. We analyze the similarities and differences between the frameworks and models and elaborate on their core building blocks. These core building blocks form the basis of an overarching model that we will develop based upon this review and put into practice. Results: A total of 28 implementation frameworks and models are included in our analysis. Throughout 15 process models, a total of 67 phases, steps or requirements are extracted and throughout 17 determinant frameworks a total of 90 components, constructs, or elements are extracted and listed into an Excel file. They are bundled and categorized using NVivo 12© and synthesized into three core phases and three core components of an implementation process as common elements of most implementation frameworks or models. The core phases are a development phase, a translation phase, and a sustainment phase. The core components are the intended change, the context, and implementation strategies. Discussion: We have identified the core building blocks of an implementation framework or model, which can be synthesized in three core phases and three core components. These will be the foundation for further research that aims to develop a new model that will guide and support intervention designers to develop and implement complex interventions, while taking account contextual factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number675171
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 Huybrechts, Declercq, Verté, Raeymaeckers and Anthierens.


  • implementation
  • implementation frameworks
  • implementation models
  • implementation science
  • primary care interventions


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