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Implementation Science

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Our Implementation Science team works with providers, clinical teams, patient partners, and embedded scientists to support decision-making in the health system by leading rapid reviews,  knowledge translation and evaluation activities. We inform the development of policies and practices based on published literature and local evidence; support the implementation of policies, recommendations, and standards in an evidence-informed and sustainable way; and conduct rapid cycle evaluation of implemented strategies and recommendations within the organization.

Rapid Reviews

What started as a tool to answer critical health system questions supporting the COVID-19 response soon became a pillar of evidence-informed decision making throughout Nova Scotia. Since 2021, over 300 rapid reviews have been completed by the Network of Scholars, and the scope of these reviews has vastly expanded to include a range of topics that is reflective of the complexity of the modern health system and its challenges, including health workforce supports and planning, quality and safety, and access and flow.

Many rapid reviews have provided important evidence supporting the design and adoption of transformational health system solutions and technologies in the province, including VirtualCareNS, YourHealthNS, Mobile Primary Care Clinics, and the integration of internationally educated healthcare professionals through the NICHE program. Rapid reviews continue to be a driving force of innovation in NSH, with increasing demand in 2024.  

Rapid Review Process

Although situated within the Research, Innovation & Discovery portfolio, the Rapid Review service functions and provides support to leaders and program areas across Nova Scotia Health.  Rapid reviews begin with a rigorous intake process to ensure each request aligns with organizational priorities. Health system leaders can request the completion of a rapid review or inquire about existing reviews by contacting the Implementation Science Team directly. Please complete the Rapid Review Intake Form to request a review, or email or

Rapid Evaluation

The Implementation Science Team and The Network of Scholars (NoS) have provided evaluation support for over 100 priority health system initiatives since 2021, including the Care Coordination Centre (C3), VirtualCareNS (VCNS), Mobile Primary Care Clinics (MPCCs), and more. Over the last 12 months, demand for evaluation support across the organization has increased. Many of these evaluations have provided invaluable insights to health system leaders and have contributed to the success of the initiatives they evaluate.

Leveraging the skills of the NoS is a cost-effective and time-efficient way to conduct rapid-cycle evaluation in NSH compared to typical consultant fees for similar work. Through supporting evaluations, NoS members also develop critical skills that can enhance internal system capacity for research and quality improvement.    

Evaluation Process

Leaders from across geographic and program areas in Nova Scotia Health can request the completion of a rapid-cycle evaluation at any time.  Requests are prioritized based on their alignment with health system priorities and feasibility. To request an evaluation from the Implementation Science Team, please contact us directly at

Network of Scholars

Established in 2021, the Network of Scholars (NoS) is an evidence-based model that aims to bring research to practice by enhancing the culture of embedded research within Nova Scotia Health. As a strategy, the NoS was conceptualized to support the vision of a high performing, learning health system wherein best available evidence and innovative solutions drive all stages of planning, policy development, and service delivery (Menear et al, 2019; Moat et al, 2021; Tomblin Murphy et al, 2022).

The NoS is a multidisciplinary network of more than 100 learners, fellows, trainees, health system partners, clinician scientists, academic researchers, and patient and community partners with diverse academic backgrounds and skillsets, including nursing, allied health professions, engineering, medicine, computer science, community health, health administration, and epidemiology. These scholars are embedded in the health system to support rapid evidence syntheses, research activities, and evaluation of initiatives across Nova Scotia in direct alignment with the needs and priorities of the health system.  

As a program, the NoS is cost neutral and is supported by a program office situated within the Research, Innovation, and Discovery portfolio that facilitates entry and exit from the Network. This program has been instrumental in attracting a number of post-doctoral and doctoral fellows from the CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship (HSIF) program, with all continuing in embedded roles in the NoS following their fellowships. The program has also attracted many Pan-Canadian scholars to our network from McMaster University, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa and more.

Impact of the Network of Scholars

Since 2021, the NoS has supported over 300 rapid reviews and 100+ evaluations addressing top health system priorities and challenges to enhance care access and quality for Nova Scotians, from COVID-19 policies and procedures to the integration of novel health professional roles in new settings. The NoS has also helped mobilize and evaluate key health system solutions across the province, including mobile primary care units, YourHealthNS, Virtual Urgent Care NS (VUNS), REDUCE-IT, C3, farUVC, and Nova Scotia’s International Community of Health Workers Engagement (NICHE).

Grant Support Offered by the Implementation Science Team

Over the last several years, the Implementation Science team has developed expertise in the area of grant support and development, successfully securing millions of dollars in research and implementation grants to support and strengthen Nova Scotia’s health system. This track record has bolstered the Implementation Science team’s reputation amongst both internal and external partners, who now actively seek out opportunities to partner with Nova Scotia Health when funding opportunities arise.

The team has helped secure research and federal grants for the province amounting to approximately 12 million dollars over the last two years.

Creating a Strategy for a Learning Health System 

Achieving a learning health system means there’s a culture of learning and continuous quality improvement that supports the use of evidence to improve policy and practice throughout the health care system. We are currently developing a strategy to implement, test, and evaluate learning health system practices and programs in multiple settings within the organization.