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The CFIR Card Game: a new approach for working with implementation teams to identify challenges and strategies

Piat, Myra; Wainwright, Megan; Sofouli, Eleni; Albert, Hélène; Casey, Regina; Rivest, Marie-Pier; Briand, Catherine; Kasdorf, Sarah; Labonté, Lise; LeBlanc, Sébastien; O’Rourke, Joseph J.

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Myra Piat

Eleni Sofouli

Hélène Albert

Regina Casey

Marie-Pier Rivest

Catherine Briand

Sarah Kasdorf

Lise Labonté

Sébastien LeBlanc

Joseph J. O’Rourke


Background The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) and the ERIC compilation of implementation strategies are key resources for identifying implementation barriers and strategies. However, their respective density and complexity make their application to implementation planning outside of academia challenging. We developed the CFIR Card Game as a way of working with multi-stakeholder implementation teams that were implementing mental health recovery into their services, to identify barriers and strategies to overcome them. The aim of this descriptive evaluation is to describe how the game was prepared, played, used and received by teams and researchers and their perception of the clarity of the CFIR constructs. Methods We used the new CFIR-ERIC Matching Tool v.1 to design the game. We produced a deck of cards with each of the CFIR-ERIC Matching Tool barrier narratives representing all 39 CFIR constructs. Teams played the game at the pre-implementation stage at a time when they were actively engaged in a planning process for implementing their selected recovery-oriented innovation. The teams placed each card in either the YES or NO column of the board in response to whether they anticipated experiencing this barrier in their setting. Teams were also asked about the clarity of the barrier narratives and were provided with plain language versions if unclear. Researchers completed a reflection form following the game, and participants completed an open-added questionnaire that included questions specific to the CFIR Card Game. We applied a descriptive coding approach to analysis. Results Four descriptive themes emerged from this analysis: (1) the CFIR Card Game as a useful and engaging process, (2) difficulties understanding CFIR construct barrier narratives, (3) strengths of the game’s design and structure and room for improvement and (4) mediating factors: facilitator preparation and multi-stakeholder dynamics. Quantitative findings regarding the clarity of the barrier narratives were integrated with qualitative data under theme 2. Only seven of the 39 original barrier narratives were judged to be clear by all teams. Conclusions The CFIR Card Game can be used to enhance implementation planning. Plain language versions of CFIR construct barrier narratives are needed. Our plain language versions require further testing and refining.


Piat, M., Wainwright, M., Sofouli, E., Albert, H., Casey, R., Rivest, M., …O’Rourke, J. J. (2021). The CFIR Card Game: a new approach for working with implementation teams to identify challenges and strategies. Implementation Science Communications, 2,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 29, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 7, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 4, 2021
Journal Implementation Science Communications
Print ISSN 2662-2211
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2


Published Journal Article (652 Kb)

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