Ready, set, go! The role of organizational readiness to predict adoption of a family caregiver training program using the Rogers' diffusion of innovation theory.



Caregivers FIRST is an evidence-based program addressing gaps in caregivers' skills. In 2020, the Veterans Health Administration Caregiver Support Program (CSP) nationally endorsed Caregivers FIRST, offering credit in leadership performance plans to encourage all VA medical centers (VAMCs) to implement locally. This study examines the association of organizational readiness with VAMC adoption of Caregivers FIRST.


In a cohort observational study, we surveyed CSP managers about their facilities' readiness to implement using the Organizational Readiness for Implementing Change (ORIC) instrument and compared change commitment and change efficacy domains among VAMCs "adopters" defined as delivering Caregivers FIRST within 1 year of the national announcement to those that did not ("non-adopters"). Within "adopters," we categorized time to adoption based on Rogers' diffusion of innovation theory including "innovators," "early adopters," "early majority," "late adopters," and "laggards." Organizational readiness and site characteristics (facility complexity, staffing levels, volume of applications for caregiver assistance services) were compared between "adopters," "non-adopters," and between time to adoption subcategories. Separate logistic regression models were used to assess whether ORIC and site characteristics were associated with early adoption among "adopters."


Fifty-one of 63 (81%) VAMCs with CSP manager survey respondents adopted Caregivers FIRST during the first year. ORIC change commitment and efficacy were similar for "adopters" and "non-adopters." However, sites that adopted earlier (innovators and early adopters) had higher ORIC change commitment and efficacy scores than the rest of the "adopters." Logistic regression results indicated that higher ORIC change commitment (odds ratio [OR] = 2.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11-5.95) and ORIC change efficacy (OR = 2.60; 95% CI, 1.12-6.03) scores were associated with increased odds that a VAMC was an early adopter (categorized as an "innovator," "early adopter", or "early majority"). Site-level characteristics were not associated with Caregivers FIRST early adoption.


To our knowledge, this study is the first to prospectively assess organizational readiness and the timing of subsequent program adoption. Early adoption was associated with higher ORIC change commitment and change efficacy and not site-level characteristics. These findings yield insights into the role of organizational readiness to accelerate program adoption.

Trial registration, NCT03474380. Registered on March 22, 2018.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Van Houtven, Courtney H, Connor Drake, Teri L Malo, Kasey Decosimo, Matthew Tucker, Caitlin Sullivan, Josh D'Adolf, Jaime M Hughes, et al. (2023). Ready, set, go! The role of organizational readiness to predict adoption of a family caregiver training program using the Rogers' diffusion of innovation theory. Implementation science communications, 4(1). p. 69. 10.1186/s43058-023-00447-x Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.


Van Houtven

Courtney Harold Van Houtven

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Courtney Van Houtven is a Professor in The Department of Population Health Science, Duke University School of Medicine and Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. She is also a Research Career Scientist in The Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT), Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Dr. Van Houtven’s aging and economics research interests encompass long-term care financing, intra-household decision-making, unpaid family and friend care, and home- and community-based services. She examines how family caregiving affects health care utilization, expenditures, health and work outcomes of care recipients and caregivers. She is also interested in understanding how best to support family caregivers to optimize caregiver and care recipient outcomes.

Dr. Van Houtven  is co-PI on the QUERI Program Project, “Optimizing Function and Independence”, in which her caregiver skills training program developed as an RCT in VA, now called Caregivers FIRST, has been implemented at 125 VA sites nationally. The team will evaluate how intensification of an implementation strategy changes adoption. She directs the VA-CARES Evaluation Center, which evaluates the VA’s Caregiver Support Program. She leads a mixed methods R01 study as PI from the National Institute on Aging that will assess the value of "home time" for persons living with dementia and their caregivers (RF1 AG072364).

Areas of expertise: Health Services Research and Health Economics


Cynthia Jan Coffman

Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Nina Sperber

Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences

My research career has centered on understanding how to improve delivery of new evidence-based practices in health care systems. I work in health services research and development for the VA health care system and have an academic appointment with the Duke University School of Medicine. I create study designs that integrate qualitative and quantitative methods (mixed-methods) and apply Implementation Science and System Science approaches. I currently have a developing body of academic work that uses participatory system dynamics modeling as a strategy to identify system level factors that affect development and implementation of equitable AI tools. For the VA health care system, I direct a cross-functional team that conducts rapid turnaround projects for high priority needs by VHA national, regional, and facility leaders.



Virginia Wang

Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Virginia Wang is an Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences and Medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine and Core Faculty in the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. She is also a Core Investigator in the Health Services Research Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation at the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Dr. Wang received her PhD in Health Policy and Management, with a focus on organizational behavior. Her research examines organizational influences and policy on the provision of health services, provider strategy and performance, care coordination, and outcomes for patients with complex chronic disease.

Dr. Wang’s research has been supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health.

Areas of expertise:  health services research, organizational behavior, health policy, implementation and program evaluation

Kelli Dominick Allen

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine
  • Improving care and outcomes for individuals with osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions with an emphasis on non-pharmacological therapies including physical activity, weight management, rehabilitation services, and pain coping
    * Understanding rand reducing disparities in musculoskeletal conditions
    * Musculoskeletal conditions in U.S. military Veterans
    * Pragmatic clinical trials
    * Adaptive interventions

Susan Nicole Hastings

Professor of Medicine

Leah L Zullig

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Leah L. Zullig, PhD, MPH is a health services researcher and an implementation scientist. She is a Professor in the Duke Department of Population Health Sciences and an investigator with the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT) at the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Dr. Zullig’s overarching research interests address three domains: improving cancer care delivery and quality; promoting cancer survivorship and chronic disease management; and improving medication adherence. Throughout these three area of foci Dr. Zullig uses an implementation science lens with the goal of providing equitable care for all by implementing evidence-based practices in a variety of health care environments. She has authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications. 

Dr. Zullig completed her BS in Health Promotion, her MPH in Public Health Administration, and her PhD in Health Policy.

Areas of expertise: Implementation Science, Health Measurement, Health Policy, Health Behavior, Telehealth, and Health Services Research

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