Development of an intervention to facilitate implementation and uptake of diabetic retinopathy screening

May 19, 2020 | Riordan

BACKGROUND: ‘Implementation interventions’ refer to methods used to enhance the adoption and implementation of clinical interventions such as diabetic retinopathy screening (DRS). DRS is effective, yet uptake is often suboptimal. Despite most routine management taking place in primary care and the central role of health care professionals (HCP) in referring to DRS, few interventions have been developed for primary care. We aimed to develop a multifaceted intervention targeting both professionals and patients to improve DRS uptake as an example of a systematic development process combining theory, stakeholder involvement, and evidence.

METHODS: First, we identified target behaviours through an audit in primary care of screening attendance. Second, we interviewed patients (n = 47) and HCP (n = 30), to identify determinants of uptake using the Theoretical Domains Framework, mapping these to behaviour change techniques (BCTs) to develop intervention content. Thirdly, we conducted semi-structured consensus groups with stakeholders, specifically users of the intervention, i.e. patients (n = 15) and HCPs (n = 16), regarding the feasibility, acceptability, and local relevance of selected BCTs and potential delivery modes. We consulted representatives from the national DRS programme to check intervention ‘fit’ with existing processes. We applied the APEASE criteria (affordability, practicability, effectiveness, acceptability, side effects, and equity) to select the final intervention components, drawing on findings from the previous steps, and a rapid evidence review of operationalised BCT effectiveness.

RESULTS: We identified potentially modifiable target behaviours at the patient (consent, attendance) and professional (registration) level. Patient barriers to consent/attendance included confusion between screening and routine eye checks, and fear of a negative result. Enablers included a recommendation from friends/family or professionals and recognising screening importance. Professional barriers to registration included the time to register patients and a lack of readily available information on uptake in their local area/practice. Most operationalised BCTs were acceptable to patients and HCPs while the response to feasibility varied. After considering APEASE, the core intervention, incorporating a range of BCTs, involved audit/feedback, electronic prompts targeting professionals, HCP-endorsed reminders (face-to-face, by phone and letter), and an information leaflet for patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Using the example of an intervention to improve DRS uptake, this study illustrates an approach to integrate theory with user involvement. This process highlighted tensions between theory-informed and stakeholder suggestions, and the need to apply the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF)/BCT structure flexibly. The final intervention draws on the trusted professional-patient relationship, leveraging existing services to enhance implementation of the DRS programme. Intervention feasibility in primary care will be evaluated in a randomised cluster pilot trial.

PubMed Abstract

Riordan, F., Racine, E., Phillip, E. T., Bradley, C., Lorencatto, F., Murphy, M., . . . McHugh, S. M. (2020). Development of an intervention to facilitate implementation and uptake of diabetic retinopathy screening. Implement Sci, 15(1), 34. doi:10.1186/s13012-020-00982-4