Self-management by people with type 2 diabetes is central to good health outcomes and the prevention of associated complications. Structured education to teach self-management is recommended by the National Institute for Heath and Clinical Excellence; however, only a small proportion of patients report being offered this education and even fewer attend. This study aims to evaluate the implementation of a new internet-based self-management intervention: HeLP-Diabetes (Healthy Living for People with type 2 Diabetes) within the National Health Service. Specific objectives are to a) determine the uptake and use of HeLP-Diabetes by services and patients; b) identify the factors which inhibit or facilitate use; c) identify the resources needed for effective implementation; d) explore possible effects of HeLP-Diabetes use on self-reported patient outcome measures.
This study will use an iterative design to implement HeLP-Diabetes into existing health services within the National Health Service. A two stage implementation process will be taken, whereby batches of General Practice surgeries and diabetes clinics will be offered HeLP-Diabetes and will subsequently be asked to participate in evaluating the implementation. We will collect data to describe the number of services and patients who sign up to HeLP-Diabetes, the types of services and patients who sign up and the implementation costs. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with patients and health professionals and cohorts of patient participants will be asked to complete self-report measures at baseline, 3 months, and 12 months.
This study will evaluate the implementation of a new online self-management intervention and describe what happens when it is made available to existing National Health Services and patients with type 2 diabetes. We will collect data to describe the uptake and use of the intervention and the resources needed for widespread implementation. We will report on patient benefits from using HeLP-Diabetes and the resources needed to achieve these in routine practice. Interviews with key stake holders will identify, define and explain factors that promote or inhibit the normalization of new patterns of patient and professional activity arising from HeLP-Diabetes.
Implementation; Diabetes; Health services research; Internet; Self-management
A national smoking cessation campaign based on behaviour change theory and operating through both traditional and new media was launched across England during late 2012 (‘Stoptober’). In addition to attempting to start a movement in which smokers would quit at the same time in response to a positive mass quitting trigger, the campaign set smokers the goal of being smoke-free for October and embodied other psychological principles in a range of tools and communications.
Data on quit attempts were obtained from 31,566 past-year smokers during nationally representative household surveys conducted monthly between 2007 and 2012. The effectiveness of the campaign was assessed by the increase in national quit attempt rate in October relative to other months in 2012 vs. 2007–2011.
Relative to other months in the year, more people tried to quit in October in 2012 compared with 2007–2011 (OR = 1.79, 95%CI = 1.20–2.68). In 2012 there was an approximately 50% increase in quitting during October compared with other months of the same year (9.6% vs. 6.6%; OR = 1.50, 95%CI = 1.05–2.15), whereas in 2007–2011 the rate in October was non-significantly less than in other months of the same period (6.4% vs. 7.5%; OR = 0.84, 95%CI = 0.70–1.00). Stoptober is estimated to have generated an additional 350,000 quit attempts and saved 10,400 discounted life years (DLY) at less than £415 per DLY in the modal age group.
Designing a national public health campaign with a clear behavioural target (making a serious quit attempt) using key psychological principles can yield substantial behaviour change and public health impact.
Smoking; Cessation; Quitting; Mass media; Cost-effectiveness; Stoptober
Audit and feedback interventions in healthcare have been found to be effective, but there has been little progress with respect to understanding their mechanisms of action or identifying their key ‘active ingredients.’
Given the increasing use of audit and feedback to improve quality of care, it is imperative to focus further research on understanding how and when it works best. In this paper, we argue that continuing the ‘business as usual’ approach to evaluating two-arm trials of audit and feedback interventions against usual care for common problems and settings is unlikely to contribute new generalizable findings. Future audit and feedback trials should incorporate evidence- and theory-based best practices, and address known gaps in the literature.
We offer an agenda for high-priority research topics for implementation researchers that focuses on reviewing best practices for designing audit and feedback interventions to optimize effectiveness.
Audit and feedback; Synthesis; Best practice; Implementation; Optimization
Mild traumatic brain injury is a frequent cause of presentation to emergency departments. Despite the availability of clinical practice guidelines in this area, there is variation in practice. One of the aims of the Neurotrauma Evidence Translation program is to develop and evaluate a targeted, theory- and evidence-informed intervention to improve the management of mild traumatic brain injury in Australian emergency departments. This study is the first step in the intervention development process and uses the Theoretical Domains Framework to explore the factors perceived to influence the uptake of four key evidence-based recommended practices for managing mild traumatic brain injury.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with emergency staff in the Australian state of Victoria. The interview guide was developed using the Theoretical Domains Framework to explore current practice and to identify the factors perceived to influence practice. Two researchers coded the interview transcripts using thematic content analysis.
A total of 42 participants (9 Directors, 20 doctors and 13 nurses) were interviewed over a seven-month period. The results suggested that (i) the prospective assessment of post-traumatic amnesia was influenced by: knowledge; beliefs about consequences; environmental context and resources; skills; social/professional role and identity; and beliefs about capabilities; (ii) the use of guideline-developed criteria or decision rules to inform the appropriate use of a CT scan was influenced by: knowledge; beliefs about consequences; environmental context and resources; memory, attention and decision processes; beliefs about capabilities; social influences; skills and behavioral regulation; (iii) providing verbal and written patient information on discharge was influenced by: beliefs about consequences; environmental context and resources; memory, attention and decision processes; social/professional role and identity; and knowledge; (iv) the practice of providing brief, routine follow-up on discharge was influenced by: environmental context and resources; social/professional role and identity; knowledge; beliefs about consequences; and motivation and goals.
Using the Theoretical Domains Framework, factors thought to influence the management of mild traumatic brain injury in the emergency department were identified. These factors present theoretically based targets for a future intervention.
Emergency department management; Mild traumatic brain injury; Theoretical Domains Framework; Semi-structured interviews
There has been significant investment in developing guidelines to improve clinical and public health practice. Though much is known about the processes of evidence synthesis and evidence-based guidelines implementation, we know little about how evidence presented to advisory groups is interpreted and used to form practice recommendations or what happens where evidence is lacking. This study investigates how members of advisory groups of NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) conceptualize evidence and experience the process.
Members of three advisory groups for acute physical, mental and public health were interviewed at the beginning and end of the life of the group. Seventeen were interviewed at both time points; five were interviewed just once at time one; and 17 were interviewed only once after guidance completion. Using thematic and content analysis, interview transcripts were analysed to identify the main themes.
Three themes were identified:
1. What is the task? Different members conceptualized the task differently; some emphasized the importance of evidence at the top of the quality hierarchy while others emphasized the importance of personal experience.
2. Who gets heard? Managing the diversity of opinion and vested interests was a challenge for the groups; service users were valued and as was the importance of fostering good working relationships between group members.
3. What is the process? Group members valued debate and recognized the need to marshal discussion; most members were satisfied with the process and output.
Evidence doesn’t form recommendations on its own, but requires human judgement. Diversity of opinion within advisory groups was seen as key to making well-informed judgments relevant to forming recommendations. However, that diversity can bring tensions in the evaluation of evidence and its translation into practice recommendations.
Advisory groups; Content analysis; Evidence; NICE guidelines; Qualitative
Determining the effectiveness of social and psychological interventions is important for improving individual and population health. Such interventions are complex and, where possible, are best evaluated by randomised controlled trials (RCTs). The use of research findings in policy and practice decision making is hindered by poor reporting of RCTs. Poor reporting limits the ability to replicate interventions, synthesise evidence in systematic reviews, and utilise findings for evidence-based policy and practice. The lack of guidance for reporting the specific methodological features of complex intervention RCTs contributes to poor reporting. We aim to develop an extension of the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials Statement for Social and Psychological Interventions (CONSORT-SPI).
This research project will be conducted in five phases. The first phase was the project launch, which consisted of the establishment of a Project Executive and International Advisory Group, and recruitment of journal editors and the CONSORT Group. The second phase involves a Delphi process that will generate a list of possible items to include in the CONSORT Extension. Next, there will be a formal consensus meeting to select the reporting items to add to, or modify for, the CONSORT-SPI Extension. Fourth, guideline documents will be written, including an explanation and elaboration (E&E) document that will provide detailed advice for each item and examples of good reporting. The final phase will comprise guideline dissemination, with simultaneous publication and endorsement of the guideline in multiple journals, endorsement by funding agencies, presentations at conferences and other meetings, and a dedicated website that will facilitate feedback about the guideline.
As demonstrated by previous CONSORT guidelines, the development of an evidence-based reporting guideline for social and psychological intervention RCTs should improve the accuracy, comprehensiveness, and transparency of study reports. This, in turn, promises to improve the critical appraisal of research and its use in policy and practice decision making. We invite readers to participate in the project by visiting our website (http://tinyurl.com/CONSORT-study).
CONSORT-SPI; Randomised controlled trial; RCT; Reporting guidelines; Complex interventions
Dementia is a common and complex condition. Evidence-based guidelines for the management of people with dementia in general practice exist; however, detection, diagnosis and disclosure of dementia have been identified as potential evidence-practice gaps. Interventions to implement guidelines into practice have had varying success. The use of theory in designing implementation interventions has been limited, but is advocated because of its potential to yield more effective interventions and aid understanding of factors modifying the magnitude of intervention effects across trials. This protocol describes methods of a randomised trial that tests a theory-informed implementation intervention that, if effective, may provide benefits for patients with dementia and their carers.
This trial aims to estimate the effectiveness of a theory-informed intervention to increase GPs’ (in Victoria, Australia) adherence to a clinical guideline for the detection, diagnosis, and management of dementia in general practice, compared with providing GPs with a printed copy of the guideline. Primary objectives include testing if the intervention is effective in increasing the percentage of patients with suspected cognitive impairment who receive care consistent with two key guideline recommendations: receipt of a i) formal cognitive assessment, and ii) depression assessment using a validated scale (primary outcomes for the trial).
The design is a parallel cluster randomised trial, with clusters being general practices. We aim to recruit 60 practices per group. Practices will be randomised to the intervention and control groups using restricted randomisation. Patients meeting the inclusion criteria, and GPs’ detection and diagnosis behaviours directed toward these patients, will be identified and measured via an electronic search of the medical records nine months after the start of the intervention. Practitioners in the control group will receive a printed copy of the guideline. In addition to receipt of the printed guideline, practitioners in the intervention group will be invited to participate in an interactive, opinion leader-led, educational face-to-face workshop. The theory-informed intervention aims to address identified barriers to and enablers of implementation of recommendations. Researchers responsible for identifying the cohort of patients with suspected cognitive impairment, and their detection and diagnosis outcomes, will be blind to group allocation.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12611001032943 (date registered 28 September, 2011).
This cluster randomised trial evaluated an intervention to decrease x-ray referrals and increase giving advice to stay active for people with acute low back pain (LBP) in general practice.
General practices were randomised to either access to a guideline for acute LBP (control) or facilitated interactive workshops (intervention). We measured behavioural predictors (e.g. knowledge, attitudes and intentions) and fear avoidance beliefs. We were unable to recruit sufficient patients to measure our original primary outcomes so we introduced other outcomes measured at the general practitioner (GP) level: behavioural simulation (clinical decision about vignettes) and rates of x-ray and CT-scan (medical administrative data). All those not involved in the delivery of the intervention were blinded to allocation.
47 practices (53 GPs) were randomised to the control and 45 practices (59 GPs) to the intervention. The number of GPs available for analysis at 12 months varied by outcome due to missing confounder information; a minimum of 38 GPs were available from the intervention group, and a minimum of 40 GPs from the control group. For the behavioural constructs, although effect estimates were small, the intervention group GPs had greater intention of practising consistent with the guideline for the clinical behaviour of x-ray referral. For behavioural simulation, intervention group GPs were more likely to adhere to guideline recommendations about x-ray (OR 1.76, 95%CI 1.01, 3.05) and more likely to give advice to stay active (OR 4.49, 95%CI 1.90 to 10.60). Imaging referral was not statistically significantly different between groups and the potential importance of effects was unclear; rate ratio 0.87 (95%CI 0.68, 1.10) for x-ray or CT-scan.
The intervention led to small changes in GP intention to practice in a manner that is consistent with an evidence-based guideline, but it did not result in statistically significant changes in actual behaviour.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN012606000098538
Audit and feedback is one of the most widely used and promising interventions in implementation research, yet also one of the most variably effective. Understanding this variability has been limited in part by lack of attention to the theoretical and conceptual basis underlying audit and feedback. Examining the extent of theory use in studies of audit and feedback will yield better understanding of the causal pathways of audit and feedback effectiveness and inform efforts to optimize this important intervention.
A total of 140 studies in the 2012 Cochrane update on audit and feedback interventions were independently reviewed by two investigators. Variables were extracted related to theory use in the study design, measurement, implementation or interpretation. Theory name, associated reference, and the location of theory use as reported in the study were extracted. Theories were organized by type (e.g., education, diffusion, organization, psychology), and theory utilization was classified into seven categories (justification, intervention design, pilot testing, evaluation, predictions, post hoc, other).
A total of 20 studies (14%) reported use of theory in any aspect of the study design, measurement, implementation or interpretation. In only 13 studies (9%) was a theory reportedly used to inform development of the intervention. A total of 18 different theories across educational, psychological, organizational and diffusion of innovation perspectives were identified. Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations and Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory were the most widely used (3.6% and 3%, respectively).
The explicit use of theory in studies of audit and feedback was rare. A range of theories was found, but not consistency of theory use. Advancing our understanding of audit and feedback will require more attention to theoretically informed studies and intervention design.
Audit and feedback; Systematic review; Theory; Intervention design
Effectiveness of evidence-based behaviour change interventions is likely to be undermined by failure to deliver interventions as planned. Behavioural support for smoking cessation can be a highly cost-effective, life-saving intervention. However, in practice, outcomes are highly variable. Part of this may be due to variability in fidelity of intervention implementation. To date, there have been no published studies on this. The present study aimed to: evaluate a method for assessing fidelity of behavioural support; assess fidelity of delivery in two English Stop-Smoking Services; and compare the extent of fidelity according to session types, duration, individual practitioners, and component behaviour change techniques (BCTs).
Treatment manuals and transcripts of 34 audio-recorded behavioural support sessions were obtained from two Stop-Smoking Services and coded into component BCTs using a taxonomy of 43 BCTs. Inter-rater reliability was assessed using percentage agreement. Fidelity was assessed by examining the proportion of BCTs specified in the manuals that were delivered in individual sessions. This was assessed by session type (i.e., pre-quit, quit, post-quit), duration, individual practitioner, and BCT.
Inter-coder reliability was high (87.1%). On average, 66% of manual-specified BCTs were delivered per session (SD 15.3, range: 35% to 90%). In Service 1, average fidelity was highest for post-quit sessions (69%) and lowest for pre-quit (58%). In Service 2, fidelity was highest for quit-day (81%) and lowest for post-quit sessions (56%). Session duration was not significantly correlated with fidelity. Individual practitioner fidelity ranged from 55% to 78%. Individual manual-specified BCTs were delivered on average 63% of the time (SD 28.5, range: 0 to 100%).
The extent to which smoking cessation behavioural support is delivered as specified in treatment manuals can be reliably assessed using transcripts of audiotaped sessions. This allows the investigation of the implementation of evidence-based practice in relation to smoking cessation, a first step in designing interventions to improve it. There are grounds for believing that fidelity in the English Stop-Smoking Services may be low and that routine monitoring is warranted.
Behaviour change interventions; Smoking cessation; Delivery; Fidelity; Implementation
Despite strong evidence of the benefits of preconception interventions for improving pregnancy outcomes, the delivery and uptake of preconception care and periconceptional folate supplementation remain low. General practitioners play a central role in the delivery of preconception care. Understanding general practitioners’ perceptions of the barriers and enablers to implementing preconception care allows for more appropriate targeting of quality improvement interventions. Consequently, the aim of this study was to examine the barriers and enablers to the delivery and uptake of preconception care guidelines from general practitioners’ perspective using theoretical domains related to behaviour change.
We conducted a qualitative study using focus groups consisting of 22 general practitioners who were recruited from three regional general practice support organisations. Questions were based on the theoretical domain framework, which describes 12 domains related to behaviour change. General practitioners’ responses were classified into predefined themes using a deductive process of thematic analysis.
Beliefs about capabilities, motivations and goals, environmental context and resources, and memory, attention and decision making were the key domains identified in the barrier analysis. Some of the perceived barriers identified by general practitioners were time constraints, the lack of women presenting at the preconception stage, the numerous competing preventive priorities within the general practice setting, issues relating to the cost of and access to preconception care, and the lack of resources for assisting in the delivery of preconception care guidelines. Perceived enablers identified by general practitioners included the availability of preconception care checklists and patient brochures, handouts, and waiting room posters outlining the benefits and availability of preconception care consultations.
Our study has identified some of the barriers and enablers to the delivery and uptake of preconception care guidelines, as perceived by general practitioners. Relating these barriers to a theoretical domain framework provides a clearer understanding of some of the psychological aspects that are involved in the behaviour of general practitioners towards the delivery and uptake of preconception care. Further research prioritising these barriers and the theoretical domains to which they relate to is necessary before a methodologically rigorous intervention can be designed, implemented, and evaluated.
Preconception care; Focus groups; Family practice; Practice guideline; Barrier analysis
Achieving a sustained improvement in hand-hygiene compliance is the WHO’s first global patient safety challenge. There is no RCT evidence showing how to do this. Systematic reviews suggest feedback is most effective and call for long term well designed RCTs, applying behavioural theory to intervention design to optimise effectiveness.
Three year stepped wedge cluster RCT of a feedback intervention testing hypothesis that the intervention was more effective than routine practice in 16 English/Welsh Hospitals (16 Intensive Therapy Units [ITU]; 44 Acute Care of the Elderly [ACE] wards) routinely implementing a national cleanyourhands campaign). Intervention-based on Goal & Control theories. Repeating 4 week cycle (20 mins/week) of observation, feedback and personalised action planning, recorded on forms. Computer-generated stepwise entry of all hospitals to intervention. Hospitals aware only of own allocation. Primary outcome: direct blinded hand hygiene compliance (%).
All 16 trusts (60 wards) randomised, 33 wards implemented intervention (11 ITU, 22 ACE). Mixed effects regression analysis (all wards) accounting for confounders, temporal trends, ward type and fidelity to intervention (forms/month used).
Intention to Treat Analysis
Estimated odds ratio (OR) for hand hygiene compliance rose post randomisation (1.44; 95% CI 1.18, 1.76;p<0.001) in ITUs but not ACE wards, equivalent to 7–9% absolute increase in compliance.
Per-Protocol Analysis for Implementing Wards
OR for compliance rose for both ACE (1.67 [1.28–2.22]; p<0.001) & ITUs (2.09 [1.55–2.81];p<0.001) equating to absolute increases of 10–13% and 13–18% respectively. Fidelity to intervention closely related to compliance on ITUs (OR 1.12 [1.04, 1.20];p = 0.003 per completed form) but not ACE wards.
Despite difficulties in implementation, intention-to-treat, per-protocol and fidelity to intervention, analyses showed an intervention coupling feedback to personalised action planning produced moderate but significant sustained improvements in hand-hygiene compliance, in wards implementing a national hand-hygiene campaign. Further implementation studies are needed to maximise the intervention’s effect in different settings.
Reviews of internet-based behaviour-change interventions have shown that they can be effective but there is considerable heterogeneity and effect sizes are generally small. In order to advance science and technology in this area, it is essential to be able to build on principles and evidence of behaviour change in an incremental manner. We report the development of an interactive smoking cessation website, StopAdvisor, designed to be attractive and effective across the social spectrum. It was informed by a broad motivational theory (PRIME), empirical evidence, web-design expertise, and user-testing. The intervention was developed using an open-source web-development platform, ‘LifeGuide’, designed to facilitate optimisation and collaboration. We identified 19 theoretical propositions, 33 evidence- or theory-based behaviour change techniques, 26 web-design principles and nine principles from user-testing. These were synthesised to create the website, ‘StopAdvisor’ (see http://www.lifeguideonline.org/player/play/stopadvisordemonstration). The systematic and transparent application of theory, evidence, web-design expertise and user-testing within an open-source development platform can provide a basis for multi-phase optimisation contributing to an ‘incremental technology’ of behaviour change.
Smoking cessation intervention; Internet-based; Website; Theory-based
The prevalence of obesity is over 25 % in many developed countries. Obesity is strongly associated with an increased risk of fatal and chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Therefore it has become a major public health concern for many economies. E-learning devices are a relatively novel approach to promoting dietary change. The new generation of devices are ‘adaptive’ and use interactive electronic media to facilitate teaching and learning. E-Learning has grown out of recent developments in information and communication technology, such as the Internet, interactive computer programmes, interactive television and mobile phones. The aim of this study is to assess the cost-effectiveness of e-learning devices as a method of promoting weight loss via dietary change.
An economic evaluation was performed using decision modelling techniques. Outcomes were expressed in terms of Quality-Adjusted Life-Years (QALYs) and costs were estimated from a health services perspective. All parameter estimates were derived from the literature. A systematic review was undertaken to derive the estimate of relative treatment effect.
The base case results from the e-Learning Economic Evaluation Model (e-LEEM) suggested that the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was approximately £102,000 per Quality-Adjusted Life-Year (QALY) compared to conventional care. This finding was robust to most alternative assumptions, except a much lower fixed cost of providing e-learning devices. Expected value of perfect information (EVPI) analysis showed that while the individual level EVPI was arguably negligible, the population level value was between £37 M and £170 M at a willingness to pay between £20,000 to £30,000 per additional QALY.
The current economic evidence base suggests that e-learning devices for managing the weight of obese individuals are unlikely to be cost-effective unless their fixed costs are much lower than estimated or future devices prove to be much more effective.
Economic evaluation; e-learning; cost-utility analysis; obesity and weight management.
There is little systematic operational guidance about how best to develop complex interventions to reduce the gap between practice and evidence. This article is one in a Series of articles documenting the development and use of the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to advance the science of implementation research.
The intervention was developed considering three main components: theory, evidence, and practical issues. We used a four-step approach, consisting of guiding questions, to direct the choice of the most appropriate components of an implementation intervention: Who needs to do what, differently? Using a theoretical framework, which barriers and enablers need to be addressed? Which intervention components (behaviour change techniques and mode(s) of delivery) could overcome the modifiable barriers and enhance the enablers? And how can behaviour change be measured and understood?
A complex implementation intervention was designed that aimed to improve acute low back pain management in primary care. We used the TDF to identify the barriers and enablers to the uptake of evidence into practice and to guide the choice of intervention components. These components were then combined into a cohesive intervention. The intervention was delivered via two facilitated interactive small group workshops. We also produced a DVD to distribute to all participants in the intervention group. We chose outcome measures in order to assess the mediating mechanisms of behaviour change.
We have illustrated a four-step systematic method for developing an intervention designed to change clinical practice based on a theoretical framework. The method of development provides a systematic framework that could be used by others developing complex implementation interventions. While this framework should be iteratively adjusted and refined to suit other contexts and settings, we believe that the four-step process should be maintained as the primary framework to guide researchers through a comprehensive intervention development process.
An integrative theoretical framework, developed for cross-disciplinary implementation and other behaviour change research, has been applied across a wide range of clinical situations. This study tests the validity of this framework.
Validity was investigated by behavioural experts sorting 112 unique theoretical constructs using closed and open sort tasks. The extent of replication was tested by Discriminant Content Validation and Fuzzy Cluster Analysis.
There was good support for a refinement of the framework comprising 14 domains of theoretical constructs (average silhouette value 0.29): ‘Knowledge’, ‘Skills’, ‘Social/Professional Role and Identity’, ‘Beliefs about Capabilities’, ‘Optimism’, ‘Beliefs about Consequences’, ‘Reinforcement’, ‘Intentions’, ‘Goals’, ‘Memory, Attention and Decision Processes’, ‘Environmental Context and Resources’, ‘Social Influences’, ‘Emotions’, and ‘Behavioural Regulation’.
The refined Theoretical Domains Framework has a strengthened empirical base and provides a method for theoretically assessing implementation problems, as well as professional and other health-related behaviours as a basis for intervention development.
Theoretical domains framework; Behaviour; Change; Implementation; Validation; Theory
Chiropractors commonly provide care to people with acute low-back pain (LBP). The aim of this survey was to determine how chiropractors intend to support and manage people with acute LBP and if this management is in accordance with two recommendations from an Australian evidence-based acute LBP guideline. The two recommendations were directed at minimising the use of plain x-ray and encouraging the patient to stay active.
This is a cross sectional survey of chiropractors in Australia. This paper is part of the ALIGN study in which a targeted implementation strategy was developed to improve the management of acute LBP in a chiropractic setting. This implementation strategy was subsequently tested in a cluster randomised controlled trial. In this survey phase of the ALIGN study we approached a random sample of 880 chiropractors in three States of Australia. The mailed questionnaire consisted of five patient vignettes designed to represent people who would typically present to chiropractors with acute LBP. Four vignettes represented people who, according to the guideline, would not require a plain lumbar x-ray, and one vignette represented a person with a suspected vertebral fracture. Respondents were asked, for each vignette, to indicate which investigation(s) they would order, and which intervention(s) they would recommend or undertake.
Of the 880 chiropractors approached, 137 were deemed ineligible to participate, mostly because they were not currently practising, or mail was returned to sender. We received completed questionnaires from 274 chiropractors (response rate of 37%). Male chiropractors made up 66% of respondents, 75% practised in an urban location and their mean number of years in practice was 15. Across the four vignettes where an x-ray was not indicated 68% (95% Confidence Intervals (CI): 64%, 71%) of chiropractors responded that they would order or take an x-ray. In addition 51% (95%CI: 47%, 56%) indicated they would give advice to stay active when it was indicated. For the vignette where a fracture was suspected, 95% (95% CI: 91%, 97%) of chiropractors would order an x-ray.
The intention of chiropractors surveyed in this study shows low adherence to two recommendations from an evidence-based guideline for acute LBP. Quality of care for these patients could be improved through effective implementation of evidence-based guidelines. Further research to find cost-effective methods to increase implementation is warranted.
Genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer reveals significant risk information regarding one's chances of developing cancer that has potential implications for patients and their families. This study reports on the motivations and attitudes of index patients and their relatives towards genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. In total, 10 female index patients and 20 of their relatives were interviewed regarding their experiences of communicating genetic information within their families, and their motivations and attitudes towards genetic testing. The analysis found two types of ‘family groups': groups strongly committed to genetic testing and groups uncertain about testing. Within committed family groups, index patients and their relatives felt obliged to be tested for others, leading some relatives to be tested without having fully thought through their decision or the implications of knowing their mutation status. These family groups also described considerations in relation to the value of testing for themselves. In family groups uncertain about testing, relatives had not attended for predictive testing, had postponed decision making until some point in the future or had expressed ambivalence about the value of testing for themselves. Results suggest the value of explicitly acknowledging motivations for genetic testing within the context of family obligations, relationships and communication, and the possible value of involving family members in genetic counselling and decision making from a family's first contact with genetic services.
genetic testing; family communication; hereditary breast and ovarian cancer; motivations; attitudes; qualitative
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.
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.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN95932902
Tobacco use adversely affects oral health. Clinical guidelines recommend that dental providers promote tobacco abstinence and provide patients who use tobacco with brief tobacco use cessation counselling. Research shows that these guidelines are seldom implemented, however. To improve guideline adherence and to develop effective interventions, it is essential to understand provider behaviour and challenges to implementation. This study aimed to develop a theoretically informed measure for assessing among dental providers implementation difficulties related to tobacco use prevention and cessation (TUPAC) counselling guidelines, to evaluate those difficulties among a sample of dental providers, and to investigate a possible underlying structure of applied theoretical domains.
A 35-item questionnaire was developed based on key theoretical domains relevant to the implementation behaviours of healthcare providers. Specific items were drawn mostly from the literature on TUPAC counselling studies of healthcare providers. The data were collected from dentists (n = 73) and dental hygienists (n = 22) in 36 dental clinics in Finland using a web-based survey. Of 95 providers, 73 participated (76.8%). We used Cronbach's alpha to ascertain the internal consistency of the questionnaire. Mean domain scores were calculated to assess different aspects of implementation difficulties and exploratory factor analysis to assess the theoretical domain structure. The authors agreed on the labels assigned to the factors on the basis of their component domains and the broader behavioural and theoretical literature.
Internal consistency values for theoretical domains varied from 0.50 ('emotion') to 0.71 ('environmental context and resources'). The domain environmental context and resources had the lowest mean score (21.3%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 17.2 to 25.4) and was identified as a potential implementation difficulty. The domain emotion provided the highest mean score (60%; 95% CI, 55.0 to 65.0). Three factors were extracted that explain 70.8% of the variance: motivation (47.6% of variance, α = 0.86), capability (13.3% of variance, α = 0.83), and opportunity (10.0% of variance, α = 0.71).
This study demonstrated a theoretically informed approach to identifying possible implementation difficulties in TUPAC counselling among dental providers. This approach provides a method for moving from diagnosing implementation difficulties to designing and evaluating interventions.
Improving the design and implementation of evidence-based practice depends on successful behaviour change interventions. This requires an appropriate method for characterising interventions and linking them to an analysis of the targeted behaviour. There exists a plethora of frameworks of behaviour change interventions, but it is not clear how well they serve this purpose. This paper evaluates these frameworks, and develops and evaluates a new framework aimed at overcoming their limitations.
A systematic search of electronic databases and consultation with behaviour change experts were used to identify frameworks of behaviour change interventions. These were evaluated according to three criteria: comprehensiveness, coherence, and a clear link to an overarching model of behaviour. A new framework was developed to meet these criteria. The reliability with which it could be applied was examined in two domains of behaviour change: tobacco control and obesity.
Nineteen frameworks were identified covering nine intervention functions and seven policy categories that could enable those interventions. None of the frameworks reviewed covered the full range of intervention functions or policies, and only a minority met the criteria of coherence or linkage to a model of behaviour. At the centre of a proposed new framework is a 'behaviour system' involving three essential conditions: capability, opportunity, and motivation (what we term the 'COM-B system'). This forms the hub of a 'behaviour change wheel' (BCW) around which are positioned the nine intervention functions aimed at addressing deficits in one or more of these conditions; around this are placed seven categories of policy that could enable those interventions to occur. The BCW was used reliably to characterise interventions within the English Department of Health's 2010 tobacco control strategy and the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence's guidance on reducing obesity.
Interventions and policies to change behaviour can be usefully characterised by means of a BCW comprising: a 'behaviour system' at the hub, encircled by intervention functions and then by policy categories. Research is needed to establish how far the BCW can lead to more efficient design of effective interventions.
Tobacco use adversely affects oral health. Tobacco use prevention and cessation (TUPAC) counselling guidelines recommend that healthcare providers ask about each patient's tobacco use, assess the patient's readiness and willingness to stop, document tobacco use habits, advise the patient to stop, assist and help in quitting, and arrange monitoring of progress at follow-up appointments. Adherence to such guidelines, especially among dental providers, is poor. To improve guideline implementation, it is essential to understand factors influencing it and find effective ways to influence those factors. The aim of the present study protocol is to introduce a theory-based approach to diagnose implementation difficulties of TUPAC counselling guidelines among dental providers.
Theories of behaviour change have been used to identify key theoretical domains relevant to the behaviours of healthcare providers involved in implementing clinical guidelines. These theoretical domains will inform the development of a questionnaire aimed at assessing the implementation of the TUPAC counselling guidelines among Finnish municipal dental providers. Specific items will be drawn from the guidelines and the literature on TUPAC studies. After identifying potential implementation difficulties, we will design two interventions using theories of behaviour change to link them with relevant behaviour change techniques aiming to improve guideline adherence. For assessing the implementation of TUPAC guidelines, the electronic dental record audit and self-reported questionnaires will be used.
To improve guideline adherence, the theoretical-domains approach could provide a comprehensive basis for assessing implementation difficulties, as well as designing and evaluating interventions. After having identified implementation difficulties, we will design and test two interventions to enhance TUPAC guideline adherence. Using the cluster randomised controlled design, we aim to provide further evidence on intervention effects, as well as on the validity and feasibility of the theoretical-domain approach. The empirical data collected within this trial will be useful in testing whether this theoretical-domain approach can improve our understanding of the implementation of TUPAC guidelines among dental providers.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN15427433
The importance of behaviour change in improving health is illustrated by the increasing investment by funding bodies in the development and evaluation of complex interventions to change population, patient, and practitioner behaviours. The development of effective interventions is hampered by the absence of a nomenclature to specify and report their content. This limits the possibility of replicating effective interventions, synthesising evidence, and understanding the causal mechanisms underlying behaviour change. In contrast, biomedical interventions are precisely specified (e.g., the pharmacological 'ingredients' of prescribed drugs, their dose and frequency of administration). For most complex interventions, the precise 'ingredients' are unknown; descriptions (e.g., 'behavioural counseling') can mean different things to different researchers or implementers. The lack of a method for specifying complex interventions undermines the precision of evidence syntheses of effectiveness, posing a problem for secondary, as well as primary, research.
We aim to develop a reliable method of specifying intervention components ('techniques') aimed at changing behaviour.
The research will be conducted in three phases. The first phase will develop the nomenclature. We will refine a preliminary list of techniques and definitions. Using a formal consensus method, experts will then define the key attributes of each technique and how it relates to, and differs from, others. They will evaluate the techniques and their definitions until they achieve an agreed-upon list of clearly defined, nonredundant techniques. The second phase will test the nomenclature. Trained experts (primary researchers and systematic reviewers), equipped with a coding manual and guidance, will use the nomenclature to code published descriptions of complex interventions. Reliability between experts, over time, and across types of users will be assessed. We will assess whether using the nomenclature to write intervention descriptions enhances the clarity and replicability of interventions. The third phase will develop a web-based users' resource of clearly specified and nonredundant techniques, which will aid the scientific understanding of, and development of, effective complex interventions. Dissemination throughout the project will be through stakeholder meetings, targeted multidisciplinary workshops, conference presentation, journal publication, and publication in an interactive web-based platform (a Wiki).
The development of a reliable method of specifying intervention components aimed at changing behaviour will strengthen the scientific basis for developing, evaluating, and reporting complex interventions. It will improve the precision of evidence syntheses of effectiveness, thus enhancing secondary, as well as primary, research.
There has been relatively little research on the role of web-based support for self-care in the management of minor, acute symptoms, in contrast to the wealth of recent research into Internet interventions to support self-management of long-term conditions.
This study was designed as an evaluation of the usage and effects of the “Internet Doctor” website providing tailored advice on self-management of minor respiratory symptoms (eg, cough, sore throat, fever, runny nose), in preparation for a definitive trial of clinical effectiveness. The first aim was to evaluate the effects of using the Internet Doctor webpages on patient enablement and use of health services, to test whether the tailored, theory-based advice provided by the Internet Doctor was superior to providing a static webpage providing the best existing patient information (the control condition). The second aim was to gain an understanding of the processes that might mediate any change in intentions to consult the doctor, by comparing changes in relevant beliefs and illness perceptions in the intervention and control groups, and by analyzing usage of the Internet Doctor webpages and predictors of intention change.
Participants (N = 714) completed baseline measures of beliefs about their symptoms and self-care online, and were then automatically randomized to the Internet Doctor or control group. These measures were completed again by 332 participants after 48 hours. Four weeks later, 214 participants completed measures of enablement and health service use.
The Internet Doctor resulted in higher levels of satisfaction than the control information (mean 6.58 and 5.86, respectively; P = .002) and resulted in higher levels of enablement a month later (median 3 and 2, respectively; P = .03). Understanding of illness improved in the 48 hours following use of the Internet Doctor webpages, whereas it did not improve in the control group (mean change from baseline 0.21 and -0.06, respectively, P = .05). Decline in intentions to consult the doctor between baseline and follow-up was predicted by age (beta = .10, P= .003), believing before accessing the website that consultation was necessary for recovery (beta = .19, P < .001), poor understanding of illness (beta = .11, P = .004), emotional reactions to illness (beta = .15, P <.001), and use of the Diagnostic section of the Internet Doctor website (beta = .09, P = .007).
Our findings provide initial evidence that tailored web-based advice could help patients self-manage minor symptoms to a greater extent. These findings constitute a sound foundation and rationale for future research. In particular, our study provides the evidence required to justify carrying out much larger trials in representative population samples comparing tailored web-based advice with routine care, to obtain a definitive evaluation of the impact on self-management and health service use.
Internet; self-care; consumer health information; communication; common cold; influenza
Variability between clinical practice guideline recommendations and actual clinical practice exists in many areas of health care. A 2004 systematic review examining the effectiveness of guideline implementation interventions concluded there was a lack of evidence to support decisions about effective interventions to promote the uptake of guidelines. Further, the review recommended the use of theory in the development of implementation interventions. A clinical practice guideline for the management of acute low-back pain has been developed in Australia (2003). Acute low-back pain is a common condition, has a high burden, and there is some indication of an evidence-practice gap in the allied health setting. This provides an opportunity to develop and test a theory-based implementation intervention which, if effective, may provide benefits for patients with this condition.
This study aims to estimate the effectiveness of a theory-based intervention to increase allied health practitioners' (physiotherapists and chiropractors in Victoria, Australia) compliance with a clinical practice guideline for acute non-specific low back pain (LBP), compared with providing practitioners with a printed copy of the guideline. Specifically, our primary objectives are to establish if the intervention is effective in reducing the percentage of acute non-specific LBP patients who are either referred for or receive an x-ray, and improving mean level of disability for patients three months post-onset of acute LBP.
The design of the study is a cluster randomised trial. Restricted randomisation was used to randomise 210 practices (clusters) to an intervention or control group. Practitioners in the control group received a printed copy of the guideline. Practitioners in the intervention group received a theory-based intervention developed to address prospectively identified barriers to practitioner compliance with the guideline. The intervention primarily consisted of an educational symposium. Patients aged 18 years or older who visit a participating practitioner for acute non-specific LBP of less than three months duration over a two-week data collection period, three months post the intervention symposia, are eligible for inclusion. Sample size calculations are based on recruiting between 15 to 40 patients per practice. Outcome assessors will be blinded to group allocation.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609001022257 (date registered 25th November 2009)