Health-related interventions are often implemented in dynamic and diverse contexts. This section offers key concepts and resources to support researchers/practitioners’ efforts to successfully implement complex interventions. Pragmatic tools can be tailored to your project(s). This information is helpful starting in the early phase of the research process, and toward implementation and sustainment.

Complex Interventions

What are Complex Interventions (CIs)? 

CIs meet most of the following conditions:

  • CIs have multiple components that interact with each other in an inter-dependent fashion
  • Individuals delivering and receiving the intervention exhibit a high set of coordinated behaviors
  • CIs require adaptations/tailoring at the organizational, workforce, and/or patient levels (at least two)
  • Outcomes are numerous and they can change over time, and
  • There is a need for flexibility in how the intervention is implemented on a daily basis
  • CIs are needed to tackle multi-level gaps or problems from a comprehensive approach.

Case Examples 

Resources & Key groups

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Further Readings and References

Complex Interventions

Forms and Functions

Two concepts from complex thinking systems can guide the conceptualization of a complex intervention’s change process, guided by theory, in terms of Core Functions and Forms.
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Case Examples

Complex Interventions

Pragmatic Tools

On this page, you can find various tools to help you operationalize and apply the concepts of Functions and Forms in your project. The first tool is a fillable matrix that you can use to map your interventions’ needs, core functions, and forms with study team members and partners (e.g., patients). The second tool is an aligned interview guide to dive deeper into these areas, and the last tool is an Excel tracking tool that you can use with study participants or partners on an ongoing basis (e.g., coaching calls) to identify changes in their priorities (core functions), and adaptations to the intervention’s forms over time.


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