Conduct Fidelity Assessments

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Fidelity is “the degree to which a program’s implementation matches the intended one” (Valente, 2002).

Research shows that during the implementation stage, implementation success was associated with fidelity to the evidence-based practice. (NIRN, p. 19)

The Iowa Practice Improvement Collaborative (PIC) Project's Evidence-Based Practices: An Implementation Guide for Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Agencies recommends a mix of:

  • chart reviews
  • surveys of clients and staff
  • interviews with staff
  • fidelity checklists or scales

"Such a multimodal approach – which can include both quantitative and qualitative measures – is more likely to accurately capture the full range of implementation."

One of the most frequently cited examples of a fidelity index in the clinical literature is the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) scale, which was based on expert ratings and the literature to reflect critical dimensions of that program (McGrew, Bond, & Dietzen, 1994; Teague, Drake, & Ackerman, 1995).

Visit the Network of Practice forums to see what your colleagues and researchers have said. The following discussion was on the topic of fidelity.