Interventions are more likely to be effective when they are implemented with fidelity.
Fidelity is the extent to which an intervention follows a program model. When implementing evidence-based programs or adapting them for local contexts, fidelity can preserve the components that make the model effective.
The assessment of implementation fidelity is critical to understanding how programs are implemented in efficacy studies and in the transition from research to practice. It is also essential for understanding a program’s strengths and areas for improvement.
This brief defines five dimensions of fidelity: adherence, exposure, quality of delivery, participant responsiveness, and program differentiation. It explores the importance of ensuring and measuring fidelity when adapting programs. It then explains how to establish fidelity criteria, identify measurement tools, assess the reliability and validity of the criteria, and analyze and use fidelity data to improve program quality.