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Creating an Infrastructure and Plan for Dissemination
An infrastructure that includes resources, protocols, and staff is needed to support dissemination activities. This may include conducting environmental and stakeholder scans, creating value propositions, and identifying different ways of broadcasting or distributing information about the intervention. Some research institutions have, or are developing, an infrastructure to support this type of work; alternately, it is possible to engage professional consultants or staff to specifically take on the work of dissemination. In either case, there are six basic steps outlined in Table 21.4 that an investigator/team can pursue to get ready to disseminate an intervention.
One step is to develop a meaningful name for the intervention and to protect the rights to associated intellectual property (e.g., training materials or modules and technological tools). The name of an intervention should not be too long or difficult to use or remember, nor should it be used by others or previously trademarked. Some modest due diligence is important to ensure a name is useable. This can easily be done by conducting a Web search or a brief search on the Patent Office’s website. When interviewing end users of an intervention (agency administrators, clinicians, participants), including questions about potential names can provide insight as to what name might be preferred.
When a program is ready (or almost ready) to be disseminated, contacting a university’s Technology Transfer or similar office or an intellectual property lawyer can provide the investigative team with expert consultation on how to trademark a name, copyright materials, or patent the intervention. As trademarking a name typically requires a fee, assuring resources for this process is important. (LegalZoom. com., n.d.) Access to an attorney can be costly, as there may be costs involved for a professional trademark search, analysis, and associated applications of anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars (SecureYourTrademark.com, 2014). Universities may also charge for this service.
Registering a trademarked name is a way to ensure that others do not use the name for similar programs and create confusion in the marketplace. Conversely, it can protect an investigative team from trademark challenges from other, often private sector services that are seeking an exclusive use of that name. Ultimately, a trademark can serve as a brand asset if a program or service is sold to a private sector or other group interested in its broad dissemination.
Implementation and training manuals or supporting materials are also important to protect. These can easily be copyrighted to discourage use without proper attribution. In practice, many behavioral and other nonpharmacologic approaches do not try to generate significant revenues from their materials, either making them available for free or as part of licensing or training packages (Beilenson, 2012). However, the intervention and associated materials should still be legally protected.
A second step is to ensure that all intervention manuals and materials are finalized and ready to be disseminated. Materials should be written in clear,
TABLE 21.4 Checklist for Building a Dissemination Infrastructure
nontechnical language and printed in formats that can be replicated easily or reside as PDFs on a website. Materials need to include step-by-step and easy-to-under- stand instructions concerning how to conduct the intervention and administer the assessments, and include sample forms, presentations, and other materials that staff or volunteers will need to use in delivering the intervention. These resources should be pilot tested to ensure their usability before broad dissemination.
The third step is to establish an approach to training interventionists to deliver the intervention on the basis of the best evidence whether it be face-to-face, an online platform, through webinars, or other media. The investigative team must consider who will deliver the training and whether a train-the-trainer program or other approach will enable wide-scale dissemination.
A fourth step is to consider creating a website that is dedicated to information about the intervention. A website can be a cost-effective approach for housing training materials, tutorials, and other support resources that agencies, interventionists, or others may need as they implement the intervention. A website, however, does have some costs, notably in terms of the staff resources required to keep it current.
The fifth step involves developing a social marketing plan and associated tactics that serve to build greater awareness about an intervention among key stakeholders, decision makers, and potential adopters (Kotler & Armstrong, 2010).
Finally, consideration must be given to staffing and the associated budget required to carry out the aforementioned activities. Developing a marketing plan and understanding the return on investment may be important as well as showing cost neutrality or revenue generation.
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