According to the online Concise Oxford Dictionary of Mathematics , the optimized solution is “the best possible solution… subject to given constraints.” Note that optimized does not mean best in an absolute or ideal sense. The constraints are always part of the definition.
The principle that optimization is an ongoing process. Every behavioral intervention is a perennial work in progress. Once an intervention has been optimized, a cycle of MOST should be started again to effect further improvements. An intervention can always be made more potent or more efficient.
Any part of an intervention that can reasonably be separated out for study. This definition is meant to be both broad and practical, because what constitutes a component can be very different in different situations.
Behavioral interventions for prevention and treatment are an important part of the fight against drug abuse and related conditions such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. They are also important in many other areas such as smoking cessation, weight management, and cancer. Among the challenges faced by scientists is how to optimize these interventions in order to achieve the greatest public health benefits.
The Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST)
Center researchers are developing the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST) to provide a framework for engineering efficacious and effective behavioral interventions. Conceptually rooted in engineering, MOST emphasizes efficiency and careful management of resources to move intervention science forward systematically. MOST can be used to guide the evaluation of research evidence, develop optimized interventions, and enhance Type I and Type II translation of research.