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1.  Seeing It from Both Sides: Do Approaches to Involving Patients in Improving Their Safety Risk Damaging the Trust between Patients and Healthcare Professionals? An Interview Study  
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80759.
Objective
Encouraging patients to be more vigilant about their care challenges the traditional dynamics of patient-healthcare professional interactions. This study aimed to explore, from the perspectives of both patients and frontline healthcare staff, the potential consequences of patient-mediated intervention as a way of pushing safety improvement through the involvement of patients.
Design
Qualitative study, using purposive sampling and semi-structured interviews with patients, their relatives and healthcare professionals. Emergent themes were identified using grounded theory, with data coded using NVIVO 8.
Participants
16 patients, 4 relatives, (mean age (sd) 60 years (15); 12 female, 8 male) and 39 healthcare professionals, (9 pharmacists, 11 doctors, 12 nurses, 7 health care assistants).
Setting
Participants were sampled from general medical and surgical wards, taking acute and elective admissions, in two hospitals in north east England.
Results
Positive consequences were identified but some actions encouraged by current patient-mediated approaches elicited feelings of suspicion and mistrust. For example, patients felt speaking up might appear rude or disrespectful, were concerned about upsetting staff and worried that their care might be compromised. Staff, whilst apparently welcoming patient questions, appeared uncertain about patients’ motives for questioning and believed that patients who asked many questions and/or who wrote things down were preparing to complain. Behavioural implications were identified that could serve to exacerbate patient safety problems (e.g. staff avoiding contact with inquisitive patients or relatives; patients avoiding contact with unreceptive staff).
Conclusions
Approaches that aim to push improvement in patient safety through the involvement of patients could engender mistrust and create negative tensions in the patient-provider relationship. A more collaborative approach, that encourages patients and healthcare staff to work together, is needed. Future initiatives should aim to shift the current focus away from “checking up” on individual healthcare professionals to one that engages both parties in the common goal of enhancing safety.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080759
PMCID: PMC3819291  PMID: 24223230
2.  Correction: Diabetes Care Provision in UK Primary Care Practices 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):10.1371/annotation/1957ad3b-e192-4faa-bf4c-5dce22c5560e.
doi:10.1371/annotation/1957ad3b-e192-4faa-bf4c-5dce22c5560e
PMCID: PMC3414526
3.  Diabetes Care Provision in UK Primary Care Practices 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41562.
Background
Although most people with Type 2 diabetes receive their diabetes care in primary care, only a limited amount is known about the quality of diabetes care in this setting. We investigated the provision and receipt of diabetes care delivered in UK primary care.
Methods
Postal surveys with all healthcare professionals and a random sample of 100 patients with Type 2 diabetes from 99 UK primary care practices.
Results
326/361 (90.3%) doctors, 163/186 (87.6%) nurses and 3591 patients (41.8%) returned a questionnaire. Clinicians reported giving advice about lifestyle behaviours (e.g. 88% would routinely advise about calorie restriction; 99.6% about increasing exercise) more often than patients reported having received it (43% and 42%) and correlations between clinician and patient report were low. Patients’ reported levels of confidence about managing their diabetes were moderately high; a median (range) of 21% (3% to 39%) of patients reporting being not confident about various areas of diabetes self-management.
Conclusions
Primary care practices have organisational structures in place and are, as judged by routine quality indicators, delivering high quality care. There remain evidence-practice gaps in the care provided and in the self confidence that patients have for key aspects of self management and further research is needed to address these issues. Future research should use robust designs and appropriately designed studies to investigate how best to improve this situation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041562
PMCID: PMC3408463  PMID: 22859997
4.  A cluster randomised trial of educational messages to improve the primary care of diabetes 
Background
Regular laboratory test monitoring of patient parameters offers a route for improving the quality of chronic disease care. We evaluated the effects of brief educational messages attached to laboratory test reports on diabetes care.
Methods
A programme of cluster randomised controlled trials was set in primary care practices in one primary care trust in England. Participants were the primary care practices' constituent healthcare professionals and patients with diabetes. Interventions comprised brief educational messages added to paper and electronic primary care practice laboratory test reports and introduced over two phases. Phase one messages, attached to Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) reports, targeted glycaemic and cholesterol control. Phase two messages, attached to albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR) reports, targeted blood pressure (BP) control, and foot inspection. Main outcome measures comprised practice mean HbA1c and cholesterol levels, diastolic and systolic BP, and proportions of patients having undergone foot inspections.
Results
Initially, 35 out of 37 eligible practices participated. Outcome data were available for a total of 8,690 patients with diabetes from 32 practices. The BP message produced a statistically significant reduction in diastolic BP (-0.62 mmHg; 95% confidence interval -0.82 to -0.42 mmHg) but not systolic BP (-0.06 mmHg, -0.42 to 0.30 mmHg) and increased the odds of achieving target BP control (odds ratio 1.05; 1.00, 1.10). The foot inspection message increased the likelihood of a recorded foot inspection (incidence rate ratio 1.26; 1.18 to 1.36). The glycaemic control message had no effect on mean HbA1c (increase 0.01%; -0.03 to 0.04) despite increasing the odds of a change in likelihood of HbA1c tests being ordered (OR 1.06; 1.01, 1.11). The cholesterol message had no effect (decrease 0.01 mmol/l, -0.04 to 0.05).
Conclusions
Three out of four interventions improved intermediate outcomes or process of diabetes care. The diastolic BP reduction approximates to relative reductions in mortality of 3% to 5% in stroke and 3% to 4% in ischaemic heart disease over 10 years. The lack of effect for other outcomes may, in part, be explained by difficulties in bringing about further improvements beyond certain thresholds of clinical performance.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials, ISRCTN2186314.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-129
PMCID: PMC3284425  PMID: 22177466
5.  Instrument development, data collection, and characteristics of practices, staff, and measures in the Improving Quality of Care in Diabetes (iQuaD) Study 
Background
Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent chronic illness and an important cause of avoidable mortality. Patients are managed by the integrated activities of clinical and non-clinical members of primary care teams. This study aimed to: investigate theoretically-based organisational, team, and individual factors determining the multiple behaviours needed to manage diabetes; and identify multilevel determinants of different diabetes management behaviours and potential interventions to improve them. This paper describes the instrument development, study recruitment, characteristics of the study participating practices and their constituent healthcare professionals and administrative staff and reports descriptive analyses of the data collected.
Methods
The study was a predictive study over a 12-month period. Practices (N = 99) were recruited from within the UK Medical Research Council General Practice Research Framework. We identified six behaviours chosen to cover a range of clinical activities (prescribing, non-prescribing), reflect decisions that were not necessarily straightforward (controlling blood pressure that was above target despite other drug treatment), and reflect recommended best practice as described by national guidelines. Practice attributes and a wide range of individually reported measures were assessed at baseline; measures of clinical outcome were collected over the ensuing 12 months, and a number of proxy measures of behaviour were collected at baseline and at 12 months. Data were collected by telephone interview, postal questionnaire (organisational and clinical) to practice staff, postal questionnaire to patients, and by computer data extraction query.
Results
All 99 practices completed a telephone interview and responded to baseline questionnaires. The organisational questionnaire was completed by 931/1236 (75.3%) administrative staff, 423/529 (80.0%) primary care doctors, and 255/314 (81.2%) nurses. Clinical questionnaires were completed by 326/361 (90.3%) primary care doctors and 163/186 (87.6%) nurses. At a practice level, we achieved response rates of 100% from clinicians in 40 practices and > 80% from clinicians in 67 practices. All measures had satisfactory internal consistency (alpha coefficient range from 0.61 to 0.97; Pearson correlation coefficient (two item measures) 0.32 to 0.81); scores were generally consistent with good practice. Measures of behaviour showed relatively high rates of performance of the six behaviours, but with considerable variability within and across the behaviours and measures.
Discussion
We have assembled an unparalleled data set from clinicians reporting on their cognitions in relation to the performance of six clinical behaviours involved in the management of people with one chronic disease (diabetes mellitus), using a range of organisational and individual level measures as well as information on the structure of the practice teams and across a large number of UK primary care practices. We would welcome approaches from other researchers to collaborate on the analysis of this data.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-61
PMCID: PMC3130687  PMID: 21658211
6.  Statistical considerations in a systematic review of proxy measures of clinical behaviour 
Background
Studies included in a related systematic review used a variety of statistical methods to summarise clinical behaviour and to compare proxy (or indirect) and direct (observed) methods of measuring it. The objective of the present review was to assess the validity of these statistical methods and make appropriate recommendations.
Methods
Electronic bibliographic databases were searched to identify studies meeting specified inclusion criteria. Potentially relevant studies were screened for inclusion independently by two reviewers. This was followed by systematic abstraction and categorization of statistical methods, as well as critical assessment of these methods.
Results
Fifteen reports (of 11 studies) met the inclusion criteria. Thirteen analysed individual clinical actions separately and presented a variety of summary statistics: sensitivity was available in eight reports and specificity in six, but four reports treated different actions interchangeably. Seven reports combined several actions into summary measures of behaviour: five reports compared means on direct and proxy measures using analysis of variance or t-tests; four reported the Pearson correlation; none compared direct and proxy measures over the range of their values. Four reports comparing individual items used appropriate statistical methods, but reports that compared summary scores did not.
Conclusions
We recommend sensitivity and positive predictive value as statistics to assess agreement of direct and proxy measures of individual clinical actions. Summary measures should be reliable, repeatable, capture a single underlying aspect of behaviour, and map that construct onto a valid measurement scale. The relationship between the direct and proxy measures should be evaluated over the entire range of the direct measure and describe not only the mean of the proxy measure for any specific value of the direct measure, but also the range of variability of the proxy measure. The evidence about the relationship between direct and proxy methods of assessing clinical behaviour is weak.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-20
PMCID: PMC2846869  PMID: 20187923
7.  The use of the Newcastle Control Score in the management of intermittent exotropia 
Aim
To evaluate the use of the Newcastle Control Score (NCS) in the management of intermittent exotropia (X(T)).
Participants and methods
Children aged <11 years with X(T) had an assessment of NCS as part of routine management. Other data collected included visual acuity, near and distance alignment with alternating prism cover test and near (Frisby test) and distance stereoacuity (Frisby Davis Distance Stereotest (FD2TM)). Analysis involved correlation between baseline NCS, angle and stereoacuity, examination of change over time and logistic regression to determine predictors of surgery.
Results
Baseline data were obtained on 272 children and follow‐up data on 157. Mean (SD) age was 4 (1.9) years. Complete NCSs were obtained for all except one child at baseline, and all children at follow‐up. At baseline, total NCS and the home control component were correlated with near stereo (r = –0.22, p<0.01 and r = –0.19, p<0.02, respectively), near alignment (r = 0.34, p<0.001 and r = 0.19, p<0.02) and distance alignment (r = 0.30, p<0.001 and r = 0.26, p<0.001). The clinic near control component was correlated with near alignment (r = 0.39, p<0.001), but not near stereoacuity, and the clinic distance control with near alignment (r = 0.16, p<0.02), distance alignment (r = 0.27, p<0.001) and distance stereoacuity (r = –0.25, p<0.03). A high (poor) NCS (⩾4) at the latest follow‐up predicted surgery (p<0.001, OR 29.3, 95% CI 6.2 to 138.7).
Conclusion
The NCS is a useful measure of the clinical severity of X(T), can be used to serially assess improvement or deterioration and is a useful tool for the management of these patients.
doi:10.1136/bjo.2006.097790
PMCID: PMC1857598  PMID: 17020901
8.  Using psychological theory to understand the clinical management of type 2 diabetes in Primary Care: a comparison across two European countries 
Background
Long term management of patients with Type 2 diabetes is well established within Primary Care. However, despite extensive efforts to implement high quality care both service provision and patient health outcomes remain sub-optimal. Several recent studies suggest that psychological theories about individuals' behaviour can provide a valuable framework for understanding generalisable factors underlying health professionals' clinical behaviour. In the context of the team management of chronic disease such as diabetes, however, the application of such models is less well established. The aim of this study was to identify motivational factors underlying health professional teams' clinical management of diabetes using a psychological model of human behaviour.
Methods
A predictive questionnaire based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) investigated health professionals' (HPs') cognitions (e.g., beliefs, attitudes and intentions) about the provision of two aspects of care for patients with diabetes: prescribing statins and inspecting feet.
General practitioners and practice nurses in England and the Netherlands completed parallel questionnaires, cross-validated for equivalence in English and Dutch. Behavioural data were practice-level patient-reported rates of foot examination and use of statin medication. Relationships between the cognitive antecedents of behaviour proposed by the TPB and healthcare teams' clinical behaviour were explored using multiple regression.
Results
In both countries, attitude and subjective norm were important predictors of health professionals' intention to inspect feet (Attitude: beta = .40; Subjective Norm: beta = .28; Adjusted R2 = .34, p < 0.01), and their intention to prescribe statins (Attitude: beta = .44; Adjusted R2 = .40, p < 0.01). Individuals' self-reported intention did not predict practice-level performance of either clinical behaviour.
Conclusion
Using the TPB, we identified modifiable factors underlying health professionals' intentions to perform two clinical behaviours, providing a rationale for the development of targeted interventions. However, we did not observe a relationship between health professionals' intentions and our proxy measure of team behaviour. Significant methodological issues were highlighted concerning the use of models of individual behaviour to explain behaviours performed by teams. In order to investigate clinical behaviours performed by teams it may be necessary to develop measures that reflect the collective cognitions of the members of the team to facilitate the application of these theoretical models to team behaviours.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-140
PMCID: PMC2729744  PMID: 19656372
9.  Are there valid proxy measures of clinical behaviour? a systematic review 
Background
Accurate measures of health professionals' clinical practice are critically important to guide health policy decisions, as well as for professional self-evaluation and for research-based investigation of clinical practice and process of care. It is often not feasible or ethical to measure behaviour through direct observation, and rigorous behavioural measures are difficult and costly to use. The aim of this review was to identify the current evidence relating to the relationships between proxy measures and direct measures of clinical behaviour. In particular, the accuracy of medical record review, clinician self-reported and patient-reported behaviour was assessed relative to directly observed behaviour.
Methods
We searched: PsycINFO; MEDLINE; EMBASE; CINAHL; Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials; science/social science citation index; Current contents (social & behavioural med/clinical med); ISI conference proceedings; and Index to Theses. Inclusion criteria: empirical, quantitative studies; and examining clinical behaviours. An independent, direct measure of behaviour (by standardised patient, other trained observer or by video/audio recording) was considered the 'gold standard' for comparison. Proxy measures of behaviour included: retrospective self-report; patient-report; or chart-review. All titles, abstracts, and full text articles retrieved by electronic searching were screened for inclusion and abstracted independently by two reviewers. Disagreements were resolved by discussion with a third reviewer where necessary.
Results
Fifteen reports originating from 11 studies met the inclusion criteria. The method of direct measurement was by standardised patient in six reports, trained observer in three reports, and audio/video recording in six reports. Multiple proxy measures of behaviour were compared in five of 15 reports. Only four of 15 reports used appropriate statistical methods to compare measures. Some direct measures failed to meet our validity criteria. The accuracy of patient report and chart review as proxy measures varied considerably across a wide range of clinical actions. The evidence for clinician self-report was inconclusive.
Conclusion
Valid measures of clinical behaviour are of fundamental importance to accurately identify gaps in care delivery, improve quality of care, and ultimately to improve patient care. However, the evidence base for three commonly used proxy measures of clinicians' behaviour is very limited. Further research is needed to better establish the methods of development, application, and analysis for a range of both direct and proxy measures of behaviour.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-37
PMCID: PMC2713194  PMID: 19575790
10.  Can the collective intentions of individual professionals within healthcare teams predict the team's performance: developing methods and theory 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-24
PMCID: PMC2685119  PMID: 19416543
11.  Improving the delivery of care for patients with diabetes through understanding optimised team work and organisation in primary care 
Background
Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent chronic illness and is an important cause of avoidable mortality. Patients are managed by the integrated activities of clinical and non-clinical members of the primary care team. Studies of the quality of care for patients with diabetes suggest less than optimum care in a number of areas.
Aim
The aim of this study is to improve the quality of care for patients with diabetes cared for in primary care in the UK by identifying individual, team, and organisational factors that predict the implementation of best practice.
Design
Participants will be clinical and non-clinical staff within 100 general practices sampled from practices who are members of the MRC General Practice Research Framework. Self-completion questionnaires will be developed to measure the attributes of individual health care professionals, primary care teams (including both clinical and non-clinical staff), and their organisation in primary care. Questionnaires will be administered using postal survey methods. A range of validated theories will be used as a framework for the questionnaire instruments. Data relating to a range of dimensions of the organisational structure of primary care will be collected via a telephone interview at each practice using a structured interview schedule. We will also collect data relating to the processes of care, markers of biochemical control, and relevant indicator scores from the quality and outcomes framework (QOF). Process data (as a proxy indicator of clinical behaviours) will be collected from practice databases and via a postal questionnaire survey of a random selection of patients from each practice. Levels of biochemical control will be extracted from practice databases. A series of analyses will be conducted to relate the individual, team, and organisational data to the process, control, and QOF data to identify configurations associated with high quality care.
Study registration
UKCRN ref:DRN120 (ICPD)
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-22
PMCID: PMC2680803  PMID: 19397796
12.  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 
Background
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).
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00376142
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-10
PMCID: PMC2262061  PMID: 18194526
13.  Developing the content of two behavioural interventions: Using theory-based interventions to promote GP management of upper respiratory tract infection without prescribing antibiotics #1 
Background
Evidence shows that antibiotics have limited effectiveness in the management of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) yet GPs continue to prescribe antibiotics. Implementation research does not currently provide a strong evidence base to guide the choice of interventions to promote the uptake of such evidence-based practice by health professionals. While systematic reviews demonstrate that interventions to change clinical practice can be effective, heterogeneity between studies hinders generalisation to routine practice. Psychological models of behaviour change that have been used successfully to predict variation in behaviour in the general population can also predict the clinical behaviour of healthcare professionals. The purpose of this study was to design two theoretically-based interventions to promote the management of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) without prescribing antibiotics.
Method
Interventions were developed using a systematic, empirically informed approach in which we: selected theoretical frameworks; identified modifiable behavioural antecedents that predicted GPs intended and actual management of URTI; mapped these target antecedents on to evidence-based behaviour change techniques; and operationalised intervention components in a format suitable for delivery by postal questionnaire.
Results
We identified two psychological constructs that predicted GP management of URTI: "Self-efficacy," representing belief in one's capabilities, and "Anticipated consequences," representing beliefs about the consequences of one's actions. Behavioural techniques known to be effective in changing these beliefs were used in the design of two paper-based, interactive interventions. Intervention 1 targeted self-efficacy and required GPs to consider progressively more difficult situations in a "graded task" and to develop an "action plan" of what to do when next presented with one of these situations. Intervention 2 targeted anticipated consequences and required GPs to respond to a "persuasive communication" containing a series of pictures representing the consequences of managing URTI with and without antibiotics.
Conclusion
It is feasible to systematically develop theoretically-based interventions to change professional practice. Two interventions were designed that differentially target generalisable constructs predictive of GP management of URTI. Our detailed and scientific rationale for the choice and design of our interventions will provide a basis for understanding any effects identified in their evaluation.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00376142
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-11
PMCID: PMC2267186  PMID: 18194527
14.  Translating clinicians' beliefs into implementation interventions (TRACII): A protocol for an intervention modeling experiment to change clinicians' intentions to implement evidence-based practice 
Background
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.
Aims
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.
Design
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.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-2-27
PMCID: PMC1988805  PMID: 17705824
15.  A cluster randomised controlled trial of educational prompts in diabetes care: study protocol 
Background
Laboratory services have a central role in supporting screening, diagnosis, and management of patients. The increase in chronic disease management in primary care for conditions such as diabetes mellitus requires regular monitoring of patients' biochemical parameters. This process offers a route for improving the quality of care that patients receive by using test results as a vehicle for delivering educational messages as well as the test result itself.
Aim
To develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a quality improvement initiative to improve the care of patients with diabetes using test report reminders.
Design
A programme of four cluster randomised controlled trials within one population of general practices.
Participants
General practices in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.
Intervention
Brief educational messages added to paper and electronic general practice laboratory test reports introduced over two phases. Phase One messages, attached to Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) reports, targeted glycaemic and cholesterol control. Phase Two messages, attached to albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR) reports, targeted blood pressure (BP) control and foot inspection.
Outcomes
General practice mean levels of HbA1c and cholesterol (Phase One) and diastolic and systolic BP and proportions of patients having undergone foot inspections (Phase Two); number of tests requested.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trial ISRCTN2186314.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-2-22
PMCID: PMC1973073  PMID: 17650309
16.  Do self- reported intentions predict clinicians' behaviour: a systematic review 
Background
Implementation research is the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of clinical research findings into routine clinical practice. Several interventions have been shown to be effective in changing health care professionals' behaviour, but heterogeneity within interventions, targeted behaviours, and study settings make generalisation difficult. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the 'active ingredients' in professional behaviour change strategies. Theories of human behaviour that feature an individual's "intention" to do something as the most immediate predictor of their behaviour have proved to be useful in non-clinical populations. As clinical practice is a form of human behaviour such theories may offer a basis for developing a scientific rationale for the choice of intervention to use in the implementation of new practice. The aim of this review was to explore the relationship between intention and behaviour in clinicians and how this compares to the intention-behaviour relationship in studies of non-clinicians.
Methods
We searched: PsycINFO, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Science/Social science citation index, Current contents (social & behavioural med/clinical med), ISI conference proceedings, and Index to Theses. The reference lists of all included papers were checked manually. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they had: examined a clinical behaviour within a clinical context, included measures of both intention and behaviour, measured behaviour after intention, and explored this relationship quantitatively. All titles and abstracts retrieved by electronic searching were screened independently by two reviewers, with disagreements resolved by discussion.
Discussion
Ten studies were found that examined the relationship between intention and clinical behaviours in 1623 health professionals. The proportion of variance in behaviour explained by intention was of a similar magnitude to that found in the literature relating to non-health professionals. This was more consistently the case for studies in which intention-behaviour correspondence was good and behaviour was self-reported. Though firm conclusions are limited by a smaller literature, our findings are consistent with that of the non-health professional literature. This review, viewed in the context of the larger populations of studies, provides encouragement for the contention that there is a predictable relationship between the intentions of a health professional and their subsequent behaviour. However, there remain significant methodological challenges.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-1-28
PMCID: PMC1664582  PMID: 17118180

Results 1-16 (16)