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Journal article

The ‘how to’ of scaling up public health interventions for maximum reach and outcomes is receiving greater attention; however, there remains a paucity of practical tools to guide those actively involved in scaling up processes in high-income countries.

To fill this gap, the New South Wales Ministry of Health developed Increasing the scale of population health interventions: a guide (2014). The guide was informed by a systematic review of scaling up models and methods, and a two-round Delphi process with a sample of senior policy makers, practitioners and researchers actively involved in scaling up processes.

Although it is a practical guide to assist health policy makers, health practitioners and others responsible for scaling up effective population health interventions, it can also be used by researchers in the design of research studies that are potentially suitable for scaling up, particularly where research–practice collaborations are involved.

The guide is divided into four steps: step 1, ‘scalability assessment’, aims to determine if an intervention is scalable; step 2, ‘developing a scale up plan’, aims to develop a practical and workable scaling up plan that can be used to convince stakeholders there is a compelling case for action. Step 3, ‘preparing for scale up’, aims to identify ways of securing resources needed for going to scale, operating at scale, and building a foundation of legitimacy and support to sustain the scaling up effort through the implementation stage; and step 4, ‘scaling up the intervention’, involves putting the plan developed in step 2 into place.

Although the guide is written as though the user is starting from the point of assessing the scalability of an intervention, later steps can be used by those already involved in scaling up to review their implementation processes.

The guide is not intended to be prescriptive. Its purpose is to help policy makers, practitioners, researchers and other decision makers decide on appropriate methodological and practical choices, and balance what is desirable with what is feasible.

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