How to spread successful interventions: What does the evidence say about scaling up?

Evidence Brief

Scaling up is a guided process that involves focused efforts to extend the impact of proven or promising interventions. The best approach to scaling up depends on where the intervention is being put in place. When scaling up an intervention, it is important to identify and maintain the key features of the intervention that are needed for success, but also to tailor the approach to the local situation.

EENet has developed an evidence brief on scaling up. Read it below or download the PDF.

Key Messages:

  • Scaling up is a guided process that involves focused efforts to extend the impact of proven or promising interventions.
  • The best approach to scaling up depends on where the intervention is being put in place.
  • When scaling up an intervention, it is important to identify and maintain the key features of the intervention that are needed for success, but it is also important to tailor the approach to the local situation.
  • Key factors to successful scaling up include: having an evidence‐informed intervention that meets an identified need; community readiness; politcal will to support change; local champions; using a participatory approach that engages local stakeholders; building capacity among those adopting the intervention; ongoing monitoring, adaptation, and evaluation; and planning to ensure the intervention can be sustained.

Background
Scaling up is an intentional, guided process designed to bring proven or promising health care models or practices to more people. Some authors say that scaling up is achieved when an effective model or practice reaches 60% of people who can benefit from it.

Much of what is known about scaling up comes from the international health literature on
improving health services in low‐income countries. Less research has focused on scaling up of health care interventions in higher‐income countries, with most coming from the field of education.

Because scaling up occurs in complex health and social systems there is no single approach that can be applied in all settings, and any approach will need to be tailored to the local situation. However, there are a variety of principles and steps that can help extend the reach of successful interventions. Generally speaking, “successful scaling up of evidence‐based practices and effective innovations requires keeping the entire system in mind; directing capacity development efforts to appropriate levels; and connecting communication and data systems across these levels so a transformed system can emerge."

 

View the two-page brief 

Download the full version