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1.  Explaining the effects of an intervention designed to promote evidence-based diabetes care: a theory-based process evaluation of a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial 
The results of randomised controlled trials can be usefully illuminated by studies of the processes by which they achieve their effects. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) offers a framework for conducting such studies. This study used TPB to explore the observed effects in a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a structured recall and prompting intervention to increase evidence-based diabetes care that was conducted in three Primary Care Trusts in England.
All general practitioners and nurses in practices involved in the trial were sent a postal questionnaire at the end of the intervention period, based on the TPB (predictor variables: attitude; subjective norm; perceived behavioural control, or PBC). It focussed on three clinical behaviours recommended in diabetes care: measuring blood pressure; inspecting feet; and prescribing statins. Multivariate analyses of variance and multiple regression analyses were used to explore changes in cognitions and thereby better understand trial effects.
Fifty-nine general medical practitioners and 53 practice nurses (intervention: n = 55, 41.98% of trial participants; control: n = 57, 38.26% of trial participants) completed the questionnaire. There were no differences between groups in mean scores for attitudes, subjective norms, PBC or intentions. Control group clinicians had 'normatively-driven' intentions (i.e., related to subjective norm scores), whereas intervention group clinicians had 'attitudinally-driven' intentions (i.e., related to attitude scores) for foot inspection and statin prescription. After controlling for effects of the three predictor variables, this group difference was significant for foot inspection behaviour (trial group × attitude interaction, beta = 0.72, p < 0.05; trial group × subjective norm interaction, beta = -0.65, p < 0.05).
Attitudinally-driven intentions are proposed to be more consistently translated into action than normatively-driven intentions. This proposition was supported by the findings, thus offering an interpretation of the trial effects. This analytic approach demonstrates the potential of the TPB to explain trial effects in terms of different relationships between variables rather than differences in mean scores. This study illustrates the use of theory-based process evaluation to uncover processes underlying change in implementation trials.
PMCID: PMC2603022  PMID: 19019242
2.  A cluster randomised controlled trial of the efficacy of a brief walking intervention delivered in primary care: Study protocol 
BMC Family Practice  2011;12:56.
The aim of the present research is to conduct a fully powered explanatory trial to evaluate the efficacy of a brief self-regulation intervention to increase walking. The intervention will be delivered in primary care by practice nurses (PNs) and Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) to patients for whom increasing physical activity is a particular priority. The intervention has previously demonstrated efficacy with a volunteer population, and subsequently went through an iterative process of refinement in primary care, to maximise acceptability to both providers and recipients.
Methods/ Design
This two arm cluster randomised controlled trial set in UK general practices will compare two strategies for increasing walking, assessed by pedometer, over six months. Patients attending practices randomised to the self-regulation intervention arm will receive an intervention consisting of behaviour change techniques designed to increase walking self-efficacy (confidence in ability to perform the behaviour), and to help people translate their "good" intentions into behaviour change by making plans. Patients attending practices randomised to the information provision arm will receive written materials promoting walking, and a short unstructured discussion about increasing their walking.
The trial will recruit 20 PN/HCAs (10 per arm), who will be trained by the research team to deliver the self-regulation intervention or information provision control intervention, to 400 patients registered at their practices (20 patients per PN/HCA). This will provide 85% power to detect a mean difference of five minutes/day walking between the self-regulation intervention group and the information provision control group. Secondary outcomes include health services costs, and intervention effects in sub-groups defined by age, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, and clinical condition. A mediation analysis will investigate the extent to which changes in constructs specified by the Theory of Planned Behaviour lead to changes in objectively assessed walking behaviour.
This trial addresses the current lack of evidence for interventions that are effective at increasing walking and that can be offered to patients in primary care. The intervention being evaluated has demonstrated efficacy, and has been through an extensive process of adaptation to ensure acceptability to both provider and recipient, thus optimising fidelity of intervention delivery and treatment receipt. It therefore provides a strong test of the hypothesis that a self-regulation intervention can help primary care patients increase their walking.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN95932902
PMCID: PMC3141510  PMID: 21699717
3.  Looking inside the black box: a theory-based process evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial of printed educational materials (the Ontario printed educational message, OPEM) to improve referral and prescribing practices in primary care in Ontario, Canada 
Randomised controlled trials of implementation strategies tell us whether (or not) an intervention results in changes in professional behaviour but little about the causal mechanisms that produce any change. Theory-based process evaluations collect data on theoretical constructs alongside randomised trials to explore possible causal mechanisms and effect modifiers. This is similar to measuring intermediate endpoints in clinical trials to further understand the biological basis of any observed effects (for example, measuring lipid profiles alongside trials of lipid lowering drugs where the primary endpoint could be reduction in vascular related deaths).
This study protocol describes a theory-based process evaluation alongside the Ontario Printed Educational Message (OPEM) trial. We hypothesize that the OPEM interventions are most likely to operate through changes in physicians' behavioural intentions due to improved attitudes or subjective norms with little or no change in perceived behavioural control. We will test this hypothesis using a well-validated social cognition model, the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) that incorporates these constructs.
We will develop theory-based surveys using standard methods based upon the TPB for the second and third replications, and survey a subsample of Ontario family physicians from each arm of the trial two months before and six months after the dissemination of the index edition of informed, the evidence based newsletter used for the interventions. In the third replication, our study will converge with the "TRY-ME" protocol (a second study conducted alongside the OPEM trial), in which the content of educational messages was constructed using both standard methods and methods informed by psychological theory. We will modify Dillman's total design method to maximise response rates. Preliminary analyses will initially assess the internal reliability of the measures and use regression to explore the relationships between predictor and dependent variable (intention to advise diabetic patients to have annual retinopathy screening and to prescribe thiazide diuretics for first line treatment of uncomplicated hypertension). We will then compare groups using methods appropriate for comparing independent samples to determine whether there have been changes in the predicted constructs (attitudes, subjective norms, or intentions) across the study groups as hypothesised, and will assess the convergence between the process evaluation results and the main trial results.
Trial registration number
Current controlled trial ISRCTN72772651
PMCID: PMC2213685  PMID: 18039362
4.  Can't do it, won't do it! Developing a theoretically framed intervention to encourage better decontamination practice in Scottish dental practices 
Guidance on the cleaning of dental instruments in primary care has recently been published. The aims of this study are to determine if the publication of the guidance document was enough to influence decontamination best practice and to design an implementation intervention strategy, should it be required.
A postal questionnaire assessing current decontamination practice and beliefs was sent to a random sample of 200 general dental practitioners.
Fifty-seven percent (N = 113) of general dental practitioners responded. The survey showed large variation in what dentists self-reported doing, perceived as necessary or practical to do, were willing to do, felt able to do, as well as what they planned to change. Only 15% self-reported compliance with the five key guideline-recommended individual-level decontamination behaviours; only 2% reported compliance with all 11 key practice-level behaviours. The results also showed that our participants were almost equally split between dentists who were completely unmotivated to implement best decontamination practice or else highly motivated. The results suggested there was scope for further enhancing the implementation of decontamination guidance, and that an intervention with the greatest likelihood of success would require a tailored format, specifically targeting components of the theory of planned behaviour (attitude, perceived behavioural control, intention) and implementation intention theory (action planning).
Considerable resources are devoted to encouraging clinicians to implement evidence-based practice using interventions with erratic success records, or no known applicability to a specific clinical behaviour, selected mainly by means of researchers' intuition or optimism. The methodology used to develop this implementation intervention is not limited to decontamination or to a single segment of primary care. It is also in accordance with the preliminary stages of the framework for evaluating complex interventions suggested by the medical research council. The next phases of this work are to test the intervention feasibility and evaluate its effectiveness in a randomised control trial.
PMCID: PMC2701915  PMID: 19500342
5.  Can the collective intentions of individual professionals within healthcare teams predict the team's performance: developing methods and theory 
Within implementation research, using theory-based approaches to understanding the behaviours of healthcare professionals and the quality of care that they reflect and designing interventions to change them is being promoted. However, such approaches lead to a new range of methodological and theoretical challenges pre-eminent among which are how to appropriately relate predictors of individual's behaviour to measures of the behaviour of healthcare professionals. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between the theory of planned behaviour proximal predictors of behaviour (intention and perceived behavioural control, or PBC) and practice level behaviour. This was done in the context of two clinical behaviours – statin prescription and foot examination – in the management of patients with diabetes mellitus in primary care. Scores for the predictor variables were aggregated over healthcare professionals using four methods: simple mean of all primary care team members' intention scores; highest intention score combined with PBC of the highest intender in the team; highest intention score combined with the highest PBC score in the team; the scores (on both constructs) of the team member identified as having primary responsibility for the clinical behaviour.
Scores on theory-based cognitive variables were collected by postal questionnaire survey from a sample of primary care doctors and nurses from northeast England and the Netherlands. Data on two clinical behaviours were patient reported, and collected by postal questionnaire survey. Planned analyses explored the predictive value of various aggregations of intention and PBC in explaining variance in the behavioural data.
Across the two countries and two behaviours, responses were received from 37 to 78% of healthcare professionals in 57 to 93% practices; 51% (UK) and 69% (Netherlands) of patients surveyed responded. None of the aggregations of cognitions predicted statin prescription. The highest intention in the team (irrespective of PBC) was a significant predictor of foot examination.
These approaches to aggregating individually-administered measures may be a methodological advance of theoretical importance. Using simple means of individual-level measures to explain team-level behaviours is neither theoretically plausible nor empirically supported; the highest intention was both predictive and plausible. In studies aiming to understand the behaviours of teams of healthcare professionals in managing chronic diseases, some sort of aggregation of measures from individuals is necessary. This is not simply a methodological point, but a necessary step in advancing the theoretical and practical understanding of the processes that lead to implementation of clinical behaviours within healthcare teams.
PMCID: PMC2685119  PMID: 19416543
6.  Movement as Medicine for Type 2 Diabetes: protocol for an open pilot study and external pilot clustered randomised controlled trial to assess acceptability, feasibility and fidelity of a multifaceted behavioural intervention targeting physical activity in primary care 
Trials  2014;15:46.
Physical activity (PA) and nutrition are the cornerstones of diabetes management. Several reviews and meta-analyses report that PA independently produces clinically important improvements in glucose control in people with Type 2 diabetes. However, it remains unclear what the optimal strategies are to increase PA behaviour in people with Type 2 diabetes in routine primary care.
This study will determine whether an evidence-informed multifaceted behaviour change intervention (Movement as Medicine for Type 2 Diabetes) targeting both consultation behaviour of primary healthcare professionals and PA behaviour in adults with Type 2 diabetes is both acceptable and feasible in the primary care setting. An open pilot study conducted in two primary care practices (phase one) will assess acceptability, feasibility and fidelity. Ongoing feedback from participating primary healthcare professionals and patients will provide opportunities for systematic adaptation and refinement of the intervention and study procedures. A two-arm parallel group clustered pilot randomised controlled trial with patients from participating primary care practices in North East England will assess acceptability, feasibility, and fidelity of the intervention (versus usual clinical care) and trial processes over a 12-month period. Consultation behaviour involving fidelity of intervention delivery, diabetes and PA related knowledge, attitudes/beliefs, intentions and self-efficacy for delivering a behaviour change intervention targeting PA behaviour will be assessed in primary healthcare professionals. We will rehearse the collection of outcome data (with the focus on data yield and quality) for a future definitive trial, through outcome assessment at baseline, one, six and twelve months. An embedded qualitative process evaluation and treatment fidelity assessment will explore issues around intervention implementation and assess whether intervention components can be reliably and faithfully delivered in routine primary care.
Movement as Medicine for Type 2 Diabetes will address an important gap in the evidence-base, that is, the need for interventions to increase free-living PA behaviour in adults with Type 2 diabetes. The multifaceted intervention incorporates an online accredited training programme for primary healthcare professionals and represents, to the best of our knowledge, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. This study will establish whether the multifaceted behavioural intervention is acceptable and feasible in routine primary care.
Trial registration
Movement as Medicine for Type 2 Diabetes (MaMT2D) was registered with Current Controlled Trials on the 14th January 2012: ISRCTN67997502. The first primary care practice was randomised on the 5th October 2012.
PMCID: PMC3922792  PMID: 24491134
Open pilot; Randomised controlled trial; Behaviour change; Type 2 diabetes; Physical activity; Exercise; Fidelity; Primary care
7.  Using theories of behaviour to understand transfusion prescribing in three clinical contexts in two countries: Development work for an implementation trial 
Blood transfusion is an essential part of healthcare and can improve patient outcomes. However, like most therapies, it is also associated with significant clinical risks. In addition, there is some evidence of overuse. Understanding the potential barriers and enablers to reduced prescribing of blood products will facilitate the selection of intervention components likely to be effective, thereby reducing the number of costly trials evaluating different implementation strategies. Using a theoretical basis to understand behaviours targeted for change will contribute to a 'basic science' relating to determinants of professional behaviour and how these inform the selection of techniques for changing behaviour. However, it is not clear which theories of behaviour are relevant to clinicians' transfusing behaviour. The aim of this study is to use a theoretical domains framework to identify relevant theories, and to use these theories to identify factors that predict the decision to transfuse.
The study involves two steps: interview study and questionnaire study. Using a previously identified framework, we will conduct semi-structured interviews with clinicians to elicit their views about which factors are associated with waiting and further monitoring the patient rather than transfusing red blood cells. Interviews will cover the following theoretical domains: knowledge; skills; social/professional role and identity; beliefs about capabilities; beliefs about consequences; motivation and goals; memory, attention, and decision processes; environmental context and resources; social influences; emotion; behavioural regulation; nature of the behaviour. The interviews will take place independently in Canada and the UK and involve two groups of physicians in each country (UK: adult and neonatal intensive care physicians; Canada: intensive care physicians and orthopaedic surgeons). We will: analyse interview transcript content to select relevant theoretical domains; use consensus processes to map these domains on to theories of behaviour; develop questionnaires based on these theories; and mail them to each group of physicians in the two countries. From our previous work, it is likely that the theories will include: theory of planned behaviour, social cognitive theory and the evidence-based strategy, implementation intention. The questionnaire data will measure predictor variables (theoretical constructs) and outcome variables (intention and clinical decision), and will be analysed using multiple regression analysis. We aim to achieve 150 respondents in each of the four groups for each postal survey.
PMCID: PMC2777847  PMID: 19852832
8.  Testing a TheoRY-inspired MEssage ('TRY-ME'): a sub-trial within the Ontario Printed Educational Message (OPEM) trial 
A challenge for implementation researchers is to develop principles that could generate testable hypotheses that apply across a range of clinical contexts, thus leading to generalisability of findings. Such principles may be provided by systematically developed theories. The opportunity has arisen to test some of these theoretical principles in the Ontario Printed Educational Materials (OPEM) trial by conducting a sub-trial within the existing trial structure. OPEM is a large factorial cluster-randomised trial evaluating the effects of short directive and long discursive educational messages embedded into informed, an evidence-based newsletter produced in Canada by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and mailed to all primary care physicians in Ontario. The content of educational messages in the sub-trial will be constructed using both standard methods and methods inspired by psychological theory. The aim of this study is to test the effectiveness of the TheoRY-inspired MEssage ('TRY-ME') compared with the 'standard' message in changing prescribing behaviour.
The OPEM trial participants randomised to receive the short directive message attached to the outside of informed (an 'outsert') will be sub-randomised to receive either a standard message or a message informed by the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) using a two (long insert or no insert) by three (theory-based outsert or standard outsert or no outsert) design. The messages will relate to prescription of thiazide diuretics as first line drug treatment for hypertension (described in the accompanying protocol, "The Ontario Printed Educational Materials trial"). The short messages will be developed independently by two research teams.
The primary outcome is prescription of thiazide diuretics, measured by routinely collected data available within ICES. The study is designed to answer the question, is there any difference in guideline adherence (i.e., thiazide prescription rates) between physicians in the six groups? A process evaluation survey instrument based on the TPB will be administered pre- and post-intervention (described in the accompanying protocol, "Looking inside the black box"). The second research question concerns processes that may underlie observed differences in prescribing behaviour. We expect that effects of the messages on prescribing behaviour will be mediated through changes in physicians' cognitions.
Trial registration number
Current controlled trial ISRCTN72772651
PMCID: PMC2216024  PMID: 18039363
9.  Improving Diabetes care through Examining, Advising, and prescribing (IDEA): protocol for a theory-based cluster randomised controlled trial of a multiple behaviour change intervention aimed at primary healthcare professionals 
New clinical research findings may require clinicians to change their behaviour to provide high-quality care to people with type 2 diabetes, likely requiring them to change multiple different clinical behaviours. The present study builds on findings from a UK-wide study of theory-based behavioural and organisational factors associated with prescribing, advising, and examining consistent with high-quality diabetes care.
To develop and evaluate the effectiveness and cost of an intervention to improve multiple behaviours in clinicians involved in delivering high-quality care for type 2 diabetes.
We will conduct a two-armed cluster randomised controlled trial in 44 general practices in the North East of England to evaluate a theory-based behaviour change intervention. We will target improvement in six underperformed clinical behaviours highlighted in quality standards for type 2 diabetes: prescribing for hypertension; prescribing for glycaemic control; providing physical activity advice; providing nutrition advice; providing on-going education; and ensuring that feet have been examined. The primary outcome will be the proportion of patients appropriately prescribed and examined (using anonymised computer records), and advised (using anonymous patient surveys) at 12 months. We will use behaviour change techniques targeting motivational, volitional, and impulsive factors that we have previously demonstrated to be predictive of multiple health professional behaviours involved in high-quality type 2 diabetes care. We will also investigate whether the intervention was delivered as designed (fidelity) by coding audiotaped workshops and interventionist delivery reports, and operated as hypothesised (process evaluation) by analysing responses to theory-based postal questionnaires. In addition, we will conduct post-trial qualitative interviews with practice teams to further inform the process evaluation, and a post-trial economic analysis to estimate the costs of the intervention and cost of service use.
Consistent with UK Medical Research Council guidance and building on previous development research, this pragmatic cluster randomised trial will evaluate the effectiveness of a theory-based complex intervention focusing on changing multiple clinical behaviours to improve quality of diabetes care.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC4049486  PMID: 24886606
10.  Goal conflict, goal facilitation, and health professionals' provision of physical activity advice in primary care: An exploratory prospective study 
The theory of planned behaviour has well-evidenced utility in predicting health professional behaviour, but focuses on a single behaviour isolated from the numerous potentially conflicting and facilitating goal-directed behaviours performed alongside. Goal conflict and goal facilitation may influence whether health professionals engage in guideline-recommended behaviours, and may supplement the predictive power of the theory of planned behaviour. We hypothesised that goal facilitation and goal conflict contribute to predicting primary care health professionals' provision of physical activity advice to patients with hypertension, over and above predictors of behaviour from the theory of planned behaviour.
Using a prospective predictive design, at baseline we invited a random sample of 606 primary care health professionals from all primary care practices in NHS Grampian and NHS Tayside (Scotland) to complete postal questionnaires. Goal facilitation and goal conflict were measured alongside theory of planned behaviour constructs at baseline. At follow-up six months later, participants self-reported the number of patients, out of those seen in the preceding two weeks, to whom they provided physical activity advice.
Forty-four primary care physicians and nurses completed measures at both time points (7.3% response rate). Goal facilitation and goal conflict improved the prediction of behaviour, accounting for substantial additional variance (5.8% and 8.4%, respectively) in behaviour over and above intention and perceived behavioural control.
Health professionals' provision of physical activity advice in primary care can be predicted by perceptions about how their conflicting and facilitating goal-directed behaviours help and hinder giving advice, over and above theory of planned behaviour constructs. Incorporating features of multiple goal pursuit into the theory of planned behaviour may help to better understand health professional behaviour.
PMCID: PMC3224555  PMID: 21762486
11.  Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour intentions for three bowel management practices in intensive care: effects of a targeted protocol implementation for nursing and medical staff 
BMC Nursing  2015;14:6.
Bowel management protocols have the potential to minimize complications for critically ill patients. Targeted implementation can increase the uptake of protocols by clinicians into practice. The theory of planned behaviour offers a framework in which to investigate clinicians’ intention to perform the behaviour of interest. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of implementing a bowel management protocol on intensive care nursing and medical staffs’ knowledge, attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control, behaviour intentions, role perceptions and past behaviours in relation to three bowel management practices.
A descriptive before and after survey using a self-administered questionnaire sent to nursing and medical staff working within three intensive care units before and after implementation of our bowel management protocol (pre: May – June 2008; post: Feb – May 2009).
Participants had significantly higher knowledge scores post-implementation of our protocol (pre mean score 17.6; post mean score 19.3; p = 0.004). Post-implementation there was a significant increase in: self-reported past behaviour (pre mean score 5.38; post mean score 7.11; p = 0.002) and subjective norms scores (pre mean score 3.62; post mean score 4.18; p = 0.016) for bowel assessment; and behaviour intention (pre mean score 5.22; post mean score 5.65; p = 0.048) for administration of enema.
This evaluation, informed by the theory of planned behaviour, has provided useful insights into factors that influence clinician intentions to perform evidence-based bowel management practices in intensive care. Addressing factors such as knowledge, attitudes and beliefs can assist in targeting implementation strategies to positively affect clinician behaviour change. Despite an increase in clinicians’ knowledge scores, our implementation strategy did not, however, significantly change clinician behaviour intentions for all three bowel management practices. Further research is required to explore the influence of opinion leaders and organizational culture on clinicians’ behaviour intentions related to bowel management for intensive care patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12912-015-0056-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4320841  PMID: 25663819
Bowel management; Intensive care; Nursing; Theory of planned behaviour; Questionnaire
12.  Translating clinicians' beliefs into implementation interventions (TRACII): A protocol for an intervention modeling experiment to change clinicians' intentions to implement evidence-based practice 
Biomedical research constantly produces new findings, but these are not routinely incorporated into health care practice. Currently, a range of interventions to promote the uptake of emerging evidence are available. While their effectiveness has been tested in pragmatic trials, these do not form a basis from which to generalise to routine care settings. Implementation research is the scientific study of methods to promote the uptake of research findings, and hence to reduce inappropriate care. As clinical practice is a form of human behaviour, theories of human behaviour that have proved to be useful in other settings offer a basis for developing a scientific rationale for the choice of interventions.
The aims of this protocol are 1) to develop interventions to change beliefs that have already been identified as antecedents to antibiotic prescribing for sore throats, and 2) to experimentally evaluate these interventions to identify those that have the largest impact on behavioural intention and behavioural simulation.
The clinical focus for this work will be the management of uncomplicated sore throat in general practice. Symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections are common presenting features in primary care. They are frequently treated with antibiotics, and research evidence is clear that antibiotic treatment offers little or no benefit to otherwise healthy adult patients.
Reducing antibiotic prescribing in the community by the "prudent" use of antibiotics is seen as one way to slow the rise in antibiotic resistance, and appears safe, at least in children. However, our understanding of how to do this is limited.
Participants will be general medical practitioners. Two theory-based interventions will be designed to address the discriminant beliefs in the prescribing of antibiotics for sore throat, using empirically derived resources. The interventions will be evaluated in a 2 × 2 factorial randomised controlled trial delivered in a postal questionnaire survey. Two outcome measures will be assessed: behavioural intention and behavioural simulation.
PMCID: PMC1988805  PMID: 17705824
13.  Applying psychological theories to evidence-based clinical practice: Identifying factors predictive of managing upper respiratory tract infections without antibiotics 
Psychological models can be used to understand and predict behaviour in a wide range of settings. However, they have not been consistently applied to health professional behaviours, and the contribution of differing theories is not clear. The aim of this study was to explore the usefulness of a range of psychological theories to predict health professional behaviour relating to management of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) without antibiotics.
Psychological measures were collected by postal questionnaire survey from a random sample of general practitioners (GPs) in Scotland. The outcome measures were clinical behaviour (using antibiotic prescription rates as a proxy indicator), behavioural simulation (scenario-based decisions to managing URTI with or without antibiotics) and behavioural intention (general intention to managing URTI without antibiotics). Explanatory variables were the constructs within the following theories: Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), Common Sense Self-Regulation Model (CS-SRM), Operant Learning Theory (OLT), Implementation Intention (II), Stage Model (SM), and knowledge (a non-theoretical construct). For each outcome measure, multiple regression analysis was used to examine the predictive value of each theoretical model individually. Following this 'theory level' analysis, a 'cross theory' analysis was conducted to investigate the combined predictive value of all significant individual constructs across theories.
All theories were tested, but only significant results are presented. When predicting behaviour, at the theory level, OLT explained 6% of the variance and, in a cross theory analysis, OLT 'evidence of habitual behaviour' also explained 6%. When predicting behavioural simulation, at the theory level, the proportion of variance explained was: TPB, 31%; SCT, 26%; II, 6%; OLT, 24%. GPs who reported having already decided to change their management to try to avoid the use of antibiotics made significantly fewer scenario-based decisions to prescribe. In the cross theory analysis, perceived behavioural control (TPB), evidence of habitual behaviour (OLT), CS-SRM cause (chance/bad luck), and intention entered the equation, together explaining 36% of the variance. When predicting intention, at the theory level, the proportion of variance explained was: TPB, 30%; SCT, 29%; CS-SRM 27%; OLT, 43%. GPs who reported that they had already decided to change their management to try to avoid the use of antibiotics had a significantly higher intention to manage URTIs without prescribing antibiotics. In the cross theory analysis, OLT evidence of habitual behaviour, TPB attitudes, risk perception, CS-SRM control by doctor, TPB perceived behavioural control and CS-SRM control by treatment entered the equation, together explaining 49% of the variance in intention.
The study provides evidence that psychological models can be useful in understanding and predicting clinical behaviour. Taking a theory-based approach enables the creation of a replicable methodology for identifying factors that predict clinical behaviour. However, a number of conceptual and methodological challenges remain.
PMCID: PMC2042498  PMID: 17683558
14.  Applying psychological theories to evidence-based clinical practice: identifying factors predictive of lumbar spine x-ray for low back pain in UK primary care practice 
Psychological models predict behaviour in a wide range of settings. The aim of this study was to explore the usefulness of a range of psychological models to predict the health professional behaviour 'referral for lumbar spine x-ray in patients presenting with low back pain' by UK primary care physicians.
Psychological measures were collected by postal questionnaire survey from a random sample of primary care physicians in Scotland and north England. The outcome measures were clinical behaviour (referral rates for lumbar spine x-rays), behavioural simulation (lumbar spine x-ray referral decisions based upon scenarios), and behavioural intention (general intention to refer for lumbar spine x-rays in patients with low back pain). Explanatory variables were the constructs within the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), Common Sense Self-Regulation Model (CS-SRM), Operant Learning Theory (OLT), Implementation Intention (II), Weinstein's Stage Model termed the Precaution Adoption Process (PAP), and knowledge. For each of the outcome measures, a generalised linear model was used to examine the predictive value of each theory individually. Linear regression was used for the intention and simulation outcomes, and negative binomial regression was used for the behaviour outcome. Following this 'theory level' analysis, a 'cross-theoretical construct' analysis was conducted to investigate the combined predictive value of all individual constructs across theories.
Constructs from TPB, SCT, CS-SRM, and OLT predicted behaviour; however, the theoretical models did not fit the data well. When predicting behavioural simulation, the proportion of variance explained by individual theories was TPB 11.6%, SCT 12.1%, OLT 8.1%, and II 1.5% of the variance, and in the cross-theory analysis constructs from TPB, CS-SRM and II explained 16.5% of the variance in simulated behaviours. When predicting intention, the proportion of variance explained by individual theories was TPB 25.0%, SCT 21.5%, CS-SRM 11.3%, OLT 26.3%, PAP 2.6%, and knowledge 2.3%, and in the cross-theory analysis constructs from TPB, SCT, CS-SRM, and OLT explained 33.5% variance in intention. Together these results suggest that physicians' beliefs about consequences and beliefs about capabilities are likely determinants of lumbar spine x-ray referrals.
The study provides evidence that taking a theory-based approach enables the creation of a replicable methodology for identifying factors that predict clinical behaviour. However, a number of conceptual and methodological challenges remain.
PMCID: PMC3125229  PMID: 21619689
15.  Factors influencing the adoption of an innovation: An examination of the uptake of the Canadian Heart Health Kit (HHK) 
There is an emerging knowledge base on the effectiveness of strategies to close the knowledge-practice gap. However, less is known about how attributes of an innovation and other contextual and situational factors facilitate and impede an innovation's adoption. The Healthy Heart Kit (HHK) is a risk management and patient education resource for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and promotion of cardiovascular health. Although previous studies have demonstrated the HHK's content validity and practical utility, no published study has examined physicians' uptake of the HHK and factors that shape its adoption.
Conceptually informed by Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation theory, and Theory of Planned Behaviour, this study had two objectives: (1) to determine if specific attributes of the HHK as well as contextual and situational factors are associated with physicians' intention and actual usage of the HHK kit; and (2), to determine if any contextual and situational factors are associated with individual or environmental barriers that prevent the uptake of the HHK among those physicians who do not plan to use the kit.
A sample of 153 physicians who responded to an invitation letter sent to all family physicians in the province of Alberta, Canada were recruited for the study. Participating physicians were sent a HHK, and two months later a study questionnaire assessed primary factors on the physicians' clinical practice, attributes of the HHK (relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, observability), confidence and control using the HHK, barriers to use, and individual attributes. All measures were used in path analysis, employing a causal model based on Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations Theory and Theory of Planned Behaviour.
115 physicians (follow up rate of 75%) completed the questionnaire. Use of the HHK was associated with intention to use the HHK, relative advantage, and years of experience. Relative advantage and the observability of the HHK benefits were also significantly associated with physicians' intention to use the HHK. Physicians working in solo medical practices reported experiencing more individual and environmental barriers to using the HHK.
The results of this study suggest that future information innovations must demonstrate an advantage over current resources and the research evidence supporting the innovation must be clearly visible. Findings also suggest that the innovation adoption process has a social element, and collegial interactions and discussions may facilitate that process. These results could be valuable for knowledge translation researchers and health promotion developers in future innovation adoption planning.
PMCID: PMC2567341  PMID: 18831766
16.  Looking inside the black box: results of a theory-based process evaluation exploring the results of a randomized controlled trial of printed educational messages to increase primary care physicians’ diabetic retinopathy referrals [Trial registration number ISRCTN72772651] 
Theory-based process evaluations conducted alongside randomized controlled trials provide the opportunity to investigate hypothesized mechanisms of action of interventions, helping to build a cumulative knowledge base and to inform the interpretation of individual trial outcomes. Our objective was to identify the underlying causal mechanisms in a cluster randomized trial of the effectiveness of printed educational materials (PEMs) to increase referral for diabetic retinopathy screening. We hypothesized that the PEMs would increase physicians’ intention to refer patients for retinal screening by strengthening their attitude and subjective norm, but not their perceived behavioral control.
Design: A theory based process evaluation alongside the Ontario Printed Educational Material (OPEM) cluster randomized trial. Postal surveys based on the Theory of Planned Behavior were sent to a random sample of trial participants two months before and six months after they received the intervention. Setting: Family physicians in Ontario, Canada. Participants: 1,512 family physicians (252 per intervention group) from the OPEM trial were invited to participate, and 31.3% (473/1512) responded at time one and time two. The final sample comprised 437 family physicians fully completing questionnaires at both time points. Main outcome measures: Primary: behavioral intention related to referring patient for retinopathy screening; secondary: attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control.
At baseline, family physicians reported positive intention, attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control to advise patients about retinopathy screening suggesting limited opportunities for improvement in these constructs. There were no significant differences on intention, attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control following the intervention. Respondents also reported additional physician- and patient-related factors perceived to influence whether patients received retinopathy screening.
Lack of change in the primary and secondary theory-based outcomes provides an explanation for the lack of observed effect of the main OPEM trial. High baseline levels of intention to advise patients to attend retinopathy screening suggest that post-intentional and other factors may explain gaps in care. Process evaluations based on behavioral theory can provide replicable and generalizable insights to aid interpretation of randomized controlled trials of complex interventions to change health professional behavior.
Trial registration
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1748-5908-9-86) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4261878  PMID: 25098442
Process evaluation; Theory of planned behavior; Printed educational material; Healthcare professional behavior; Behavior change
17.  Impact of a physical activity intervention program on cognitive predictors of behaviour among adults at risk of Type 2 diabetes (ProActive randomised controlled trial) 
In the ProActive Trial an intensive theory-based intervention program was no more effective than theory-based brief advice in increasing objectively measured physical activity among adults at risk of Type 2 diabetes. We aimed to illuminate these findings by assessing whether the intervention program changed cognitions about increasing activity, defined by the Theory of Planned Behaviour, in ways consistent with the theory.
N = 365 sedentary participants aged 30–50 years with a parental history of Type 2 diabetes were randomised to brief advice alone or to brief advice plus the intervention program delivered face-to-face or by telephone. Questionnaires at baseline, 6 and 12 months assessed cognitions about becoming more physically active. Analysis of covariance was used to test intervention impact. Bootstrapping was used to test multiple mediation of intervention impact.
At 6 months, combined intervention groups (face-to-face and telephone) reported that they found increasing activity more enjoyable (affective attitude, d = .25), and they perceived more instrumental benefits (e.g., improving health) (d = .23) and more control (d = .32) over increasing activity than participants receiving brief advice alone. Stronger intentions (d = .50) in the intervention groups than the brief advice group at 6 months were partially explained by affective attitude and perceived control. At 12 months, intervention groups perceived more positive instrumental (d = .21) and affective benefits (d = .29) than brief advice participants. The intervention did not change perceived social pressure to increase activity.
Lack of effect of the intervention program on physical activity over and above brief advice was consistent with limited and mostly small short-term effects on cognitions. Targeting affective benefits (e.g., enjoyment, social interaction) and addressing barriers to physical activity may strengthen intentions, but stronger intentions did not result in more behaviour change. More powerful interventions which induce large changes in TPB cognitions may be needed. Other interventions deserving further evaluation include theory-based brief advice, intensive measurement of physical and psychological factors, and monitoring of physical activity. Future research should consider a wider range of mediators of physical activity change, assess participants' use of self-regulatory strategies taught in the intervention, and conduct experimental studies or statistical modelling prior to trial evaluation. ISRCTN61323766.
PMCID: PMC2669044  PMID: 19292926
18.  An intervention modelling experiment to change GPs' intentions to implement evidence-based practice: using theory-based interventions to promote GP management of upper respiratory tract infection without prescribing antibiotics #2 
Psychological theories of behaviour may provide a framework to guide the design of interventions to change professional behaviour. Behaviour change interventions, designed using psychological theory and targeting important motivational beliefs, were experimentally evaluated for effects on the behavioural intention and simulated behaviour of GPs in the management of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection (URTI).
The design was a 2 × 2 factorial randomised controlled trial. A postal questionnaire was developed based on three theories of human behaviour: Theory of Planned Behaviour; Social Cognitive Theory and Operant Learning Theory. The beliefs and attitudes of GPs regarding the management of URTI without antibiotics and rates of prescribing on eight patient scenarios were measured at baseline and post-intervention. Two theory-based interventions, a "graded task" with "action planning" and a "persuasive communication", were incorporated into the post-intervention questionnaire. Trial groups were compared using co-variate analyses.
Post-intervention questionnaires were returned for 340/397 (86%) GPs who responded to the baseline survey. Each intervention had a significant effect on its targeted behavioural belief: compared to those not receiving the intervention GPs completing Intervention 1 reported stronger self-efficacy scores (Beta = 1.41, 95% CI: 0.64 to 2.25) and GPs completing Intervention 2 had more positive anticipated consequences scores (Beta = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.46 to 1.98). Intervention 2 had a significant effect on intention (Beta = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.41 to 1.38) and simulated behaviour (Beta = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.19 to 0.74).
GPs' intended management of URTI was significantly influenced by their confidence in their ability to manage URTI without antibiotics and the consequences they anticipated as a result of doing so. Two targeted behaviour change interventions differentially affected these beliefs. One intervention also significantly enhanced GPs' intentions not to prescribe antibiotics for URTI and resulted in lower rates of prescribing on patient scenarios compared to a control group. The theoretical frameworks utilised provide a scientific rationale for understanding how and why the interventions had these effects, improving the reproducibility and generalisability of these findings and offering a sound basis for an intervention in a "real world" trial.
Trial registration NCT00376142
PMCID: PMC2262061  PMID: 18194526
19.  Development and Evaluation of a Pedagogical Tool to Improve Understanding of a Quality Checklist: A Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS Clinical Trials  2007;2(5):e22.
The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a pedagogical tool to enhance the understanding of a checklist that evaluates reports of nonpharmacological trials (CLEAR NPT).
Paired randomised controlled trial.
Clinicians and systematic reviewers.
We developed an Internet-based computer learning system (ICLS). This pedagogical tool used many examples from published randomised controlled trials to demonstrate the main coding difficulties encountered when using this checklist.
Randomised participants received either a specific Web-based training with the ICLS (intervention group) or no specific training.
Outcome measures:
The primary outcome was the rate of correct answers compared to a criterion standard for coding a report of randomised controlled trials with the CLEAR NPT.
Between April and June 2006, 78 participants were randomly assigned to receive training with the ICLS (39) or no training (39). Participants trained by the ICLS did not differ from the control group in performance on the CLEAR NPT. The mean paired difference and corresponding 95% confidence interval was 0.5 (−5.1 to 6.1). The rate of correct answers did not differ between the two groups regardless of the CLEAR NPT item. Combining both groups, the rate of correct answers was high or items related to allocation sequence (79.5%), description of the intervention (82.0%), blinding of patients (79.5%), and follow-up schedule (83.3%). The rate of correct answers was low for items related to allocation concealment (46.1%), co-interventions (30.3%), blinding of outcome assessors (53.8%), specific measures to avoid ascertainment bias (28.6%), and intention-to-treat analysis (60.2%).
Although we showed no difference in effect between the intervention and control groups, our results highlight the gap in knowledge and urgency for education on important aspects of trial conduct.
Editorial Commentary
Background: A key part of the practice of evidence-based medicine (essentially, the appropriate use of current best evidence in determining care of individual patients) involves appraising the quality of individual research papers. This process helps an individual to understand what has been done in a clinical research study, and to decipher the strengths, limitations, and importance of the work. Several tools already exist to help clinicians and researchers to assess the quality of particular types of study, including randomised controlled trials. One of these tools is called CLEAR NPT, which consists of a checklist that helps individuals to evaluate reports of nonpharmacological trials (i.e., trials not evaluating drugs but other types of intervention, such as surgery). The researchers who developed CLEAR NPT also produced an Internet-based computer learning system to help researchers use CLEAR NPT correctly. They wanted to evaluate to what extent this learning system helped people use CLEAR NPT and, therefore, carried out a randomised trial comparing the learning system to no specific training. A total of 78 health researchers were recruited as the “participants” in the trial, and 39 were randomised to each trial arm. Once the participants had received either the Internet training or no specific training, they used CLEAR NPT to evaluate reports of nonpharmacological trials. The primary outcome was the rate of “correct” answers that study participants gave using CLEAR NPT.
What the trial shows: The researchers found that the results on the primary outcome (rate of correct answers given by study participants) did not differ between the study arms. The rate of correct answers for individual items on the checklist also did not seem to differ between individuals receiving Internet training and those receiving no specific training. When looking at the scores for individual items, combined between the two study arms, participants scored highly on their appraisal of some aspects of trial design (such as generation of randomisation sequences and descriptions of blinding and the intervention) but poorly on other items (such as concealment of the randomisation sequence).
Strengths and limitations: Key strengths of this study include the randomised design and that the trial recruited enough participants to test the primary hypothesis. The failure to find a significant difference between study arms in this trial was likely not due to a lack of statistical power. One limitation of the study is that the group of researchers who participated were already fairly experienced in assessing trial quality at the start, and this may explain why no additional effect of the computer-based learning system was seen. It is possible that the training system may have some benefit for individuals who are less experienced in evaluating trials. A further possible limitation may be that there was a small imbalance at randomisation, with slightly more experienced researchers being recruited into the arm receiving no specific training. This imbalance might have underestimated the effect of the training system.
Contribution to the evidence: The researchers here report that this study is the first they are aware of that evaluates a computer-based learning system for improving assessment of the quality of reporting of randomised trials. The results here find that this particular tool did not improve assessment. However, the results emphasise that training should be considered an important part of the development of any critical appraisal tools.
PMCID: PMC1865084  PMID: 17479163
20.  Protocol for the ADDITION-Plus study: a randomised controlled trial of an individually-tailored behaviour change intervention among people with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes under intensive UK general practice care 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:211.
The increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes poses both clinical and public health challenges. Cost-effective approaches to prevent progression of the disease in primary care are needed. Evidence suggests that intensive multifactorial interventions including medication and behaviour change can significantly reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among patients with established type 2 diabetes, and that patient education in self-management can improve short-term outcomes. However, existing studies cannot isolate the effects of behavioural interventions promoting self-care from other aspects of intensive primary care management. The ADDITION-Plus trial was designed to address these issues among recently diagnosed patients in primary care over one year.
ADDITION-Plus is an explanatory randomised controlled trial of a facilitator-led, theory-based behaviour change intervention tailored to individuals with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes. 34 practices in the East Anglia region participated. 478 patients with diabetes were individually randomised to receive (i) intensive treatment alone (n = 239), or (ii) intensive treatment plus the facilitator-led individual behaviour change intervention (n = 239). Facilitators taught patients key skills to facilitate change and maintenance of key behaviours (physical activity, dietary change, medication adherence and smoking), including goal setting, action planning, self-monitoring and building habits. The intervention was delivered over one year at the participant's surgery and included a one-hour introductory meeting followed by six 30-minute meetings and four brief telephone calls. Primary endpoints are physical activity energy expenditure (assessed by individually calibrated heart rate monitoring and movement sensing), change in objectively measured dietary intake (plasma vitamin C), medication adherence (plasma drug levels), and smoking status (plasma cotinine levels) at one year. We will undertake an intention-to-treat analysis of the effect of the intervention on these measures, an assessment of cost-effectiveness, and analyse predictors of behaviour change in the cohort.
The ADDITION-Plus trial will establish the medium-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of adding an externally facilitated intervention tailored to support change in multiple behaviours among intensively-treated individuals with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes in primary care. Results will inform policy recommendations concerning the management of patients early in the course of diabetes. Findings will also improve understanding of the factors influencing change in multiple behaviours, and their association with health outcomes.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3076276  PMID: 21463520
21.  Evaluating an audit and feedback intervention for reducing antibiotic prescribing behaviour in general dental practice (the RAPiD trial): a partial factorial cluster randomised trial protocol 
Antibiotic prescribing in dentistry accounts for 9% of total antibiotic prescriptions in Scottish primary care. The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) published guidance in April 2008 (2nd edition, August 2011) for Drug Prescribing in Dentistry, which aims to assist dentists to make evidence-based antibiotic prescribing decisions. However, wide variation in prescribing persists and the overall use of antibiotics is increasing.
RAPiD is a 12-month partial factorial cluster randomised trial conducted in NHS General Dental Practices across Scotland. Its aim is to compare the effectiveness of individualised audit and feedback (A&F) strategies for the translation into practice of SDCEP recommendations on antibiotic prescribing. The trial uses routinely collected electronic healthcare data in five aspects of its design in order to: identify the study population; apply eligibility criteria; carry out stratified randomisation; generate the trial intervention; analyse trial outcomes.
Eligibility was determined on contract status and a minimum level of recent NHS treatment provision. All eligible dental practices in Scotland were simultaneously randomised at baseline either to current audit practice or to an intervention group. Randomisation was stratified by single-handed/multi-handed practices. General dental practitioners (GDPs) working at intervention practices will receive individualised graphical representations of their antibiotic prescribing rate from the previous 14 months at baseline and an update at six months. GDPs could not be blinded to their practice allocation. Intervention practices were further randomised using a factorial design to receive feedback with or without: a health board comparator; a supplementary text-based intervention; additional feedback at nine months. The primary outcome is the total antibiotic prescribing rate per 100 courses of treatment over the year following delivery of the baseline intervention.
A concurrent qualitative process evaluation will apply theory-based approaches using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research to explore the acceptability of the interventions and the Theoretical Domains Framework to identify barriers and enablers to evidence-based antibiotic prescribing behaviour by GDPs.
RAPiD will provide a robust evaluation of A&F in dentistry in Scotland. It also demonstrates that linked administrative datasets have the potential to be used efficiently and effectively across all stages of an randomised controlled trial.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN49204710
PMCID: PMC4108126  PMID: 24758164
Prescribing; Antibiotics; Dental
22.  Theory of planned behaviour variables and objective walking behaviour do not show seasonal variation in a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:120.
Longitudinal studies have shown that objectively measured walking behaviour is subject to seasonal variation, with people walking more in summer compared to winter. Seasonality therefore may have the potential to bias the results of randomised controlled trials if there are not adequate statistical or design controls. Despite this there are no studies that assess the impact of seasonality on walking behaviour in a randomised controlled trial, to quantify the extent of such bias. Further there have been no studies assessing how season impacts on the psychological predictors of walking behaviour to date. The aim of the present study was to assess seasonal differences in a) objective walking behaviour and b) Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) variables during a randomised controlled trial of an intervention to promote walking.
315 patients were recruited to a two-arm cluster randomised controlled trial of an intervention to promote walking in primary care. A series of repeated measures ANCOVAs were conducted to examine the effect of season on pedometer measures of walking behaviour and TPB measures, assessed immediately post-intervention and six months later. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to assess whether season moderated the prediction of intention and behaviour by TPB measures.
There were no significant differences in time spent walking in spring/summer compared to autumn/winter. There was no significant seasonal variation in most TPB variables, although the belief that there will be good weather was significantly higher in spring/summer (F = 19.46, p < .001). Season did not significantly predict intention or objective walking behaviour, or moderate the effects of TPB variables on intention or behaviour.
Seasonality does not influence objectively measured walking behaviour or psychological variables during a randomised controlled trial. Consequently physical activity behaviour outcomes in trials will not be biased by the season in which they are measured. Previous studies may have overestimated the extent of seasonality effects by selecting the most extreme summer and winter months to assess PA. In addition, participants recruited to behaviour change interventions might have higher levels of motivation to change and are less affected by seasonal barriers.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN95932902
PMCID: PMC3924404  PMID: 24499405
Season; Walking; Randomised controlled trial; Theory of planned behaviour; Behaviour change
23.  Multicentre RCT and economic evaluation of a psychological intervention together with a leaflet to reduce risk behaviour amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) prescribed post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV following sexual exposure (PEPSE): A protocol 
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) following sexual exposure to HIV has been recommended as a method of preventing HIV infection in the UK. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are the group most affected by HIV in the UK and their sexual risk taking behaviour is reported to be increasing. One-to-one behavioural interventions, such as motivational interviewing (MI) have been recommended to reduce HIV in high risk groups. The Information, Motivation and Behavioral skills (IMB) model has been shown to provide a good basis for understanding and predicting HIV-relevant health behaviour and health behaviour change, however the IMB has yet to be applied to PEP after risky sexual exposure. The primary aim of this trial is to examine the impact of MI augmented with information provision and behavioural skills building (informed by the IMB Model), over and above usual care, on risky sexual behaviour in MSM prescribed PEP after potential sexual exposure. A secondary aim of this research is to examine the impact of the intervention on adherence to PEP. This study will also provide estimates of the cost-effectiveness of the intervention.
A manualised parallel group randomised controlled trial with economic evaluation will be conducted. The primary outcome is the proportion of risky sexual practices. Secondary outcomes include: i) Levels of adherence to PEP treatment; ii) Number of subsequent courses of PEP; iii) Levels of motivation to avoid risky sexual behaviours; iv) Levels of HIV risk-reduction information/knowledge; v) Levels of risk reduction behavioural skills; vi) Diagnosis of anal gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and/or HIV. 250 participants will be asked to self-complete a questionnaire at four time points during the study (at 0,3,6,12 months). The intervention will consist of a two-session, fixed duration, telephone administered augmented MI intervention based on the IMB model. A newly developed treatment manual will guide the selection of persuasive communication strategies as appropriate for each participant and will be based on underlying change mechanisms specified by the IMB theoretical framework. Information provision and skills building will also be included in the intervention package through the use of information leaflets and tailored action plans. Fidelity of intervention delivery will be assessed.
The results from this NIHR funded study will identify whether it is appropriate and cost-effective to intervene using one-to-one telephone calls with MSM seeking PEP. If the intervention is effective, further work will be needed on training staff to deliver the intervention competently.
Trial registration numbers
UKCRN ID:11436; ISRCTN00746242.
PMCID: PMC3362782  PMID: 22440090
Sexual behaviour; HIV; Motivational interviewing; Post-exposure-prophylaxis; Intervention
24.  The @RISK Study: Risk communication for patients with type 2 diabetes: design of a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:457.
Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have an increased risk to develop severe diabetes related complications, especially cardiovascular disease (CVD). The risk to develop CVD can be estimated by means of risk formulas. However, patients have difficulties to understand the outcomes of these formulas. As a result, they may not recognize the importance of changing lifestyle and taking medication in time. Therefore, it is important to develop risk communication methods, that will improve the patients' understanding of risks associated with having diabetes, which enables them to make informed choices about their diabetes care.
The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of an intervention focussed on the communication of the absolute 10-year risk to develop CVD on risk perception, attitude and intention to change lifestyle behaviour in patients with T2DM. The conceptual framework of the intervention is based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Self-regulation Theory.
A randomised controlled trial will be performed in the Diabetes Care System West-Friesland (DCS), a managed care system. Newly referred T2DM patients of the DCS, younger than 75 years will be eligible for the study. The intervention group will be exposed to risk communication on CVD, on top of standard managed care of the DCS. This intervention consists of a simple explanation on the causes and consequences of CVD, and possibilities for prevention. The probabilities of CVD in 10 year will be explained in natural frequencies and visualised by a population diagram. The control group will receive standard managed care. The primary outcome is appropriateness of risk perception. Secondary outcomes are attitude and intention to change lifestyle behaviour and illness perception. Differences between baseline and follow-up (2 and 12 weeks) between groups will be analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle. The study was powered on 120 patients in each group.
This innovative risk communication method based on two behavioural theories might improve patient's appropriateness of risk perception and attitude concerning lifestyle change. With a better understanding of their CVD risk, patients will be able to make informed choices concerning diabetes care.
Trail registration
The trial is registered as NTR1556 in the Dutch Trial Register.
PMCID: PMC2922111  PMID: 20687924
25.  Effective Feedback to Improve Primary Care Prescribing Safety (EFIPPS) a pragmatic three-arm cluster randomised trial: designing the intervention ( registration NCT01602705) 
High-risk prescribing in primary care is common and causes considerable harm. Feedback interventions have small/moderate effects on clinical practice, but few trials explicitly compare different forms of feedback. There is growing recognition that intervention development should be theory-informed, and that comprehensive reporting of intervention design is required by potential users of trial findings. The paper describes intervention development for the Effective Feedback to Improve Primary Care Prescribing Safety (EFIPPS) study, a pragmatic three-arm cluster randomised trial in 262 Scottish general practices.
The NHS chose to implement a feedback intervention to utilise a new resource, new Prescribing Information System (newPIS). The development phase required selection of high-risk prescribing outcome measures and design of intervention components: (1) educational material (the usual care comparison), (2) feedback of practice rates of high-risk prescribing received by both intervention arms and (3) a theory-informed behaviour change component to be received by one intervention arm. Outcome measures, educational material and feedback design, were developed with a National Health Service Advisory Group. The behaviour change component was informed by the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Health Action Process Approach. A focus group elicitation study and an email Delphi study with general practitioners (GPs) identified key attitudes and barriers of responding to the prescribing feedback. Behaviour change techniques were mapped to the psychological constructs, and the content was informed by the results of the elicitation and Delphi study.
Six high-risk prescribing measures were selected in a consensus process based on importance and feasibility. Educational material and feedback design were based on current NHS Scotland practice and Advisory Group recommendations. The behaviour change component was resource constrained in development, mirroring what is feasible in an NHS context. Four behaviour change interventions were developed and embedded in five quarterly rounds of feedback targeting attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control and action planning (2×).
The paper describes a process which is feasible to use in the resource-constrained environment of NHS-led intervention development and documents the intervention to make its design and implementation explicit to potential users of the trial findings.
Trial registration NCT01602705
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0133-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4201916  PMID: 25304255
Feedback; Medication errors; Medication review; Inappropriate medication; Randomised controlled trial; Primary health care; Family practice; Intervention development; Behaviour change; ePrescribing

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