Digital technologies have demonstrated significant potential to advance progress towards End TB targets and are increasingly used as a tool for TB programmes in low and middle-income countries. Digital technologies are being applied in varied and innovative ways to help overcome some of the key challenges and barriers that limit efforts for prevention, detection, treatment and management of TB, such as digital tools to promote treatment adherence, support learning and knowledge dissemination, and improve the quality, accessibility, and sharing of TB programme data.
However, the strength of evidence supporting the application of technologies used in TB is limited. Even where evidence exists, implementation and scale-up of these technologies across different settings depends on real-world, context-specific factors. Implementation research (IR) is the systematic approach to identifying and examining challenges and bottlenecks related to the development, implementation, and scale-up of health interventions. IR can provide critical insights for developing and testing effective strategies designed to overcome barriers to roll-out of new technologies, determining the best way to introduce innovations into the health system and promoting large-scale usage and sustainability.
The Implementation research for digital technologies and tuberculosis toolkit (IR4DTB) has been designed for TB programme implementers (middle and senior-level managers) and other decision makers who are interested in trialling, or currently implementing, digital technology tools and are seeking guidance on how to conduct IR to evaluate the implementation and scale up of digital technologies within TB programmes. The toolkit is organised into six modules that reflect key steps in the IR process and guides users through conceptualising, budgeting, and preparing for an IR study. The activities and examples contained within this toolkit have been designed to facilitate the development of a comprehensive IR proposal that can be used to support fundraising efforts for future research.