An innovative sequential mixed-methods approach to evaluating clinician acceptability during implementation of a standardized labor induction protocol

Rebecca Feldman Hamm*, Lisa D. Levine, Julia E. Szymczak, Samuel Parry, Sindhu K. Srinivas, Rinad S. Beidas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Implementation outcomes, including acceptability, are of critical importance in both implementation research and practice. The gold standard measure of acceptability, Acceptability of Intervention Measure (AIM), skews positively with a limited range. In an ongoing hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial, we aimed to evaluate clinician acceptability of induction standardization. Here, we describe an innovative mixed-methods approach to maximize the interpretability of the AIM using a case study in maternal health. Methods: In this explanatory sequential mixed methods study, we distributed the validated, 4-question AIM (total 4–20) to labor and delivery clinicians 6 months post-implementation at 2 sites (Site 1: 3/2021; Site 2: 6/2021). Respondents were grouped by total score into tertiles. The top (“High” Acceptability) and bottom (“Low” Acceptability) tertiles were invited to participate in a 30-minute semi-structured qualitative interview from 6/2021 to 10/2021 until thematic saturation was reached in each acceptability group. Participants were purposively sampled by role and site. Interviews were coded using an integrated approach, incorporating a priori attributes (Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research constructs) into a modified content analysis approach. Results: 104 clinicians completed the initial survey; 24 were interviewed (12 “High” and 12 “Low” Acceptability). Median total AIM scores were 20/20 IQR[20–20] in the High and 12.5/20 IQR[11–14] in the Low Acceptability groups. In both groups, clinicians were enthusiastic about efforts to standardize labor induction, believing it reduces inter-clinician variability and improves equitable, evidence-based care. In the Low Acceptability group, clinicians stated the need for flexibility and consideration for patient uniqueness. Rarely, clinicians felt labor induction could not or should not be standardized, citing discomfort with medicalization of labor, and concerns with “bulldozing” the patient with interventions. Suggested strategies for overcoming negative sentiment included comprehensive clinician education, as well as involving patients as active participants in the protocol prenatally. Conclusions: This study utilized AIM in an innovative sequential mixed-methods approach to characterize clinician acceptability, which may be generalizable across implementation endeavors. By performing this work during a hybrid trial, implementation strategies to improve acceptability emerged (clinician education focusing on respect for flexibility; involving patients as active participants prenatally) for year 2, which will inform future multi-site work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number195
JournalBMC Medical Research Methodology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Acceptability
  • Acceptability of intervention measure
  • Hybrid trial
  • Mixed-methods
  • Standardization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Epidemiology


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