Tailoring dissemination strategies to increase evidence-informed policymaking for opioid use disorder treatment: study protocol

Erika L. Crable, Colleen M. Grogan, Jonathan Purtle, Scott C. Roesch, Gregory A. Aarons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Policy is a powerful tool for systematically altering healthcare access and quality, but the research to policy gap impedes translating evidence-based practices into public policy and limits widespread improvements in service and population health outcomes. The US opioid epidemic disproportionately impacts Medicaid members who rely on publicly funded benefits to access evidence-based treatment including medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). A myriad of misaligned policies and evidence-use behaviors by policymakers across federal agencies, state Medicaid agencies, and managed care organizations limit coverage of and access to MOUD for Medicaid members. Dissemination strategies that improve policymakers’ use of current evidence are critical to improving MOUD benefits and reducing health disparities. However, no research describes key determinants of Medicaid policymakers’ evidence use behaviors or preferences, and few studies have examined data-driven approaches to developing dissemination strategies to enhance evidence-informed policymaking. This study aims to identify determinants and intermediaries that influence policymakers’ evidence use behaviors, then develop and test data-driven tailored dissemination strategies that promote MOUD coverage in benefit arrays. Methods: Guided by the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) framework, we will conduct a national survey of state Medicaid agency and managed care organization policymakers to identify determinants and intermediaries that influence how they seek, receive, and use research in their decision-making processes. We will use latent class methods to empirically identify subgroups of agencies with distinct evidence use behaviors. A 10-step dissemination strategy development and specification process will be used to tailor strategies to significant predictors identified for each latent class. Tailored dissemination strategies will be deployed to each class of policymakers and assessed for their acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility for delivering evidence about MOUD benefit design. Discussion: This study will illuminate key determinants and intermediaries that influence policymakers’ evidence use behaviors when designing benefits for MOUD. This study will produce a critically needed set of data-driven, tailored policy dissemination strategies. Study results will inform a subsequent multi-site trial measuring the effectiveness of tailored dissemination strategies on MOUD benefit design and implementation. Lessons from dissemination strategy development will inform future research about policymakers’ evidence use preferences and offer a replicable process for tailoring dissemination strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalImplementation Science Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Dissemination strategies
  • EPIS framework
  • Information dissemination
  • Managed care populations
  • Medicaid
  • Opioid-related disorders
  • Policy
  • Politics
  • Prior authorization
  • Substance use disorder treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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