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The TRiaDS programmatic evaluation takes place alongside and informs the development of dental clinical guidance by SDCEP (see Table 1 in the TRiaDS Protocol).

For each SDCEP guidance document, a diagnostic analysis of relevant current practice commences at the beginning of the guidance development process. This involves gathering information on current dental care activities from a general perspective and specific activities or behaviours related to the particular guidance topic. Where possible routine data sets are used however, if relevant data are not routinely collected specific data collected tools are developed, piloted and used. The degree of variation in practice is then quantified and information is collected to attempt to understand this variation. Data collected from the diagnostic analysis informs whether there is a need for a knowledge translation intervention. Criteria for whether an intervention is required include public importance, the size of the gap between current practice and guidance recommendations, the reasons for this gap and the potential to address the barriers.

If an intervention is considered appropriate the content and method of delivery of the intervention will be based on prior published evidence and/or data collected during the diagnostic analysis. Knowledge translation interventions are then evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental trial designs, where possible using designs that allow the evaluation of different knowledge translation interventions such as multi arm trials or factorial designs.

The embedding of TRiaDS within the SDCEP guidance development process offers a unique opportunity to shape the guidance development process to promote the translation of the guidance and to prepare the guidance for evaluation. TRiaDS also provides a unique platform to study sustainability, which is an understudied area of significant policy relevance.

Although based in primary dental care in Scotland and centred upon clinical guidance for dentistry, the TRiaDS process describes a generalisable evaluative framework that is readily transferable across national and international jurisdictions and professional disciplines.

See the TRiaDS Framework.