Methods for designing interventions to change healthcare professionals’ behaviour: a systematic review

Mar 04, 2017 | H. L. Colquhoun, J. E. Squires, N. Kolehmainen, C. Fraser and J. M. Grimshaw

BACKGROUND: Systematic reviews consistently indicate that interventions to change healthcare professional (HCP) behaviour are haphazardly designed and poorly specified. Clarity about methods for designing and specifying interventions is needed. The objective of this review was to identify published methods for designing interventions to change HCP behaviour.

METHODS: A search of MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO was conducted from 1996 to April 2015. Using inclusion/exclusion criteria, a broad screen of abstracts by one rater was followed by a strict screen of full text for all potentially relevant papers by three raters. An inductive approach was first applied to the included studies to identify commonalities and differences between the descriptions of methods across the papers. Based on this process and knowledge of related literatures, we developed a data extraction framework that included, e.g. level of change (e.g. individual versus organization); context of development; a brief description of the method; tasks included in the method (e.g. barrier identification, component selection, use of theory).

RESULTS: 3966 titles and abstracts and 64 full-text papers were screened to yield 15 papers included in the review, each outlining one design method. All of the papers reported methods developed within a specific context. Thirteen papers included barrier identification and 13 included linking barriers to intervention components; although not the same 13 papers. Thirteen papers targeted individual HCPs with only one paper targeting change across individual, organization, and system levels. The use of theory and user engagement were included in 13/15 and 13/15 papers, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: There is an agreement across methods of four tasks that need to be completed when designing individual-level interventions: identifying barriers, selecting intervention components, using theory, and engaging end-users. Methods also consist of further additional tasks. Examples of methods for designing the organisation and system-level interventions were limited. Further analysis of design tasks could facilitate the development of detailed guidelines for designing interventions.

PubMed Abstract

Colquhoun HL, Squires JE, Kolehmainen N, Fraser C, Grimshaw JM. Methods for designing interventions to change healthcare professionals’ behaviour: a systematic review. Implementation Science. 2017;12(1):30.