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Redesigning the ‘choice architecture’ of hospital prescription charts: a mixed methods study incorporating in situ simulation testing

D King, A Jabbar, E Charani

BMJ Open 2014

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Objectives To incorporate behavioural insights into the user-centred design of an inpatient prescription chart (Imperial Drug Chart Evaluation and Adoption Study, IDEAS chart) and to determine whether changes in the content and design of prescription charts could influence prescribing behaviour and reduce prescribing errors. Design A mixed-methods approach was taken in the development phase of the project; in situ simulation was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the newly developed IDEAS prescription chart. Setting A London teaching hospital. Interventions/methods A multimodal approach comprising (1) an exploratory phase consisting of chart reviews, focus groups and user insight gathering (2) the iterative design of the IDEAS prescription chart and finally (3) testing of final chart with prescribers using in situ simulation. Results Substantial variation was seen between existing inpatient prescription charts used across 15 different UK hospitals. Review of 40 completed prescription charts from one hospital demonstrated a number of frequent prescribing errors including illegibility, and difficulty in identifying prescribers. Insights from focus groups and direct observations were translated into the design of IDEAS chart. In situ simulation testing revealed significant improvements in prescribing on the IDEAS chart compared with the prescription chart currently in use in the study hospital. Medication orders on the IDEAS chart were significantly more likely to include correct dose entries (164/164 vs 166/174; p=0.0046) as well as prescriber's printed name (163/164 vs 0/174; p<0.0001) and contact number (137/164 vs 55/174; p<0.0001). Antiinfective indication (28/28 vs 17/29; p<0.0001) and duration (26/28 vs 15/29; p<0.0001) were more likely to be completed using the IDEAS chart. Conclusions In a simulated context, the IDEAS prescription chart significantly reduced a number of common prescribing errors including dosing errors and illegibility. Positive behavioural change was seen without prior education or support, suggesting that some common prescription writing errors are potentially rectifiable simply through changes in the content and design of prescription charts.


Stating Appointment Costs in SMS Reminders Reduces Missed Hospital Appointments: Findings from Two Randomised Controlled Trials

M Hallsworth, D Berry, M Sanders, Sallis A, D King, I Vlaev

PLoS ONE 10(9): e0137306. pmid:26366885

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Missed hospital appointments are a major cause of inefficiency worldwide. Healthcare providers are increasingly using Short Message Service reminders to reduce ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA) rates. Systematic reviews show that sending such reminders is effective, but there is no evidence on whether their impact is affected by their content. Accordingly, we undertook two randomised controlled trials that tested the impact of rephrasing appointment reminders on DNA rates in the United Kingdom. Participants were outpatients with a valid mobile telephone number and an outpatient appointment between November 2013 and January 2014 (Trial One, 10,111 participants) or March and May 2014 (Trial Two, 9,848 participants). Appointments were randomly allocated to one of four reminder messages, which were issued five days in advance. Message assignment was then compared against appointment outcomes (appointment attendance, DNA, cancellation by patient). In Trial One, a message including the cost of a missed appointment to the health system produced a DNA rate of 8.4%, compared to 11.1% for the existing message (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.61–0.89, P<0.01). Trial Two replicated this effect (DNA rate 8.2%), but also found that expressing the same concept in general terms was significantly less effective (DNA rate 9.9%, OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.00–1.48, P<0.05). Moving from the existing reminder to the more effective costs message would result in 5,800 fewer missed appointments per year in the National Health Service Trust in question, at no additional cost. The study’s main limitations are that it took place in a single location in England, and that it required accurate phone records, which were only obtained for 20% of eligible patients. We conclude that missed appointments can be reduced, for no additional cost, by introducing persuasive messages to appointment reminders. Future studies could examine the impact of varying reminder messages in other health systems.


How effective is community physical activity promotion in areas of deprivation for inactive adults with cardiovascular disease risk and/or mental health concerns? Study protocol for a pragmatic observational evaluation of the 'Active Herts' physical activity programme.

Neil Howlett, Andy Jones, Lucy Bain, Angel Chater

BMJ open [7:e017783] (2017)

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There is a high prevalence of inactive adults in the UK, and many suffer from conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) or poor mental health. These coexist more frequently in areas of higher socioeconomic deprivation. There is a need to test the effectiveness, acceptability and sustainability of physical activity programmes. Active Herts uses novel evidence-based behaviour change techniques to target physical inactivity. Active Herts is a community physical activity programme for inactive adults aged 16+ with one or more risk factors for CVD and/or a mild to moderate mental health condition. This evaluation will follow a mixed-methods longitudinal (baseline, and 3-month, 6-month and 12-month follow-ups) design. Pragmatic considerations mean delivery of the programme differs by locality. In two areas programme users will receive a behaviour change technique booklet, regular consultations, a booster phone call, motivational text messages and signposting to 12 weeks of exercise classes. In another two areas programme users will also receive 12 weeks of free tailored exercise classes, with optional exercise 'buddies' available. An outcome evaluation will assess changes in physical activity as the primary outcome, and sporting participation, sitting, well-being, psychological capability and reflective motivation as secondary outcomes. A process evaluation will explore the views of stakeholders, delivery staff and programme leads. Economic evaluation will examine the programme costs against the benefits gained in terms of reduced risk of morbidity. This study was been approved by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee at the University of East Anglia. Informed written consent will be obtained from programme users in the evaluation. Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at conferences, and shared through the study website and local community outlets. ClinicalTrials.gov ID number: NCT03153098.


Study design and protocol for a mixed methods evaluation of an intervention to reduce and break up sitting time in primary school classrooms in the UK: The CLASS PAL (Physically Active Learning) Programme.

Ash Routen, Stuart Biddle, Danielle Bodicoat, Lorraine Cale, Stacy Clemes, Charlotte Edwardson, Cris Glazebrook, Deirdre Harrington, Kamlesh Khunti, Natalie Pearson, Jo Salmon, Lauren Sherar

BMJ open [7:e019428] (2017)

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Children engage in a high volume of sitting in school, particularly in the classroom. A number of strategies, such as physically active lessons (termed movement integration (MI)), have been developed to integrate physical activity into this learning environment; however, no single approach is likely to meet the needs of all pupils and teachers. This protocol outlines an implementation study of a primary school-based MI intervention: CLASS PAL (Physically Active Learning) programme. This study aims to (A) determine the degree of implementation of CLASS PAL, (B) identify processes by which teachers and schools implement CLASS PAL and (C) investigate individual (pupil and teacher) level and school-level characteristics associated with implementation of CLASS PAL. The intervention will provide teachers with a professional development workshop and a bespoke teaching resources website. The study will use a single group before-and-after design, strengthened by multiple interim measurements. Six state-funded primary schools will be recruited within Leicestershire, UK.Evaluation data will be collected prior to implementation and at four discrete time points during implementation: At measurement 0 (October 2016), school, teacher and pupil characteristics will be collected. At measurements 0 and 3 (June-July 2017), accelerometry, cognitive functioning, self-reported sitting and classroom engagement data will be collected. At measurements 1(December 2016-March 2017) and 3 , teacher interviews (also at measurement 4; September-October 2017) and pupil focus groups will be conducted, and at measurements 1 and 2 (April-May 2017), classroom observations. Implementation will be captured through website analytics and ongoing teacher completed logs. Ethical approval was obtained through the Loughborough University Human Participants Ethics Sub-Committee (Reference number: R16-P115). Findings will be disseminated via practitioner and/or research journals and to relevant regional and national stakeholders through print and online media and dissemination event(s).


A novel peer-support intervention using motivational interviewing for breastfeeding maintenance: a UK feasibility study.

Shantini Paranjothy, Lauren Copeland, Laura Merrett, Aimee Grant, Rhiannon Phillips, Nina Gobat, Julia Sanders, Deborah Fitzsimmons, Billie Hunter, Sian Regan, Rebecca Playle, Amy Brown, Sally Tedstone, Heather Trickey, Mike Robling

Health technology assessment (Winchester, England) [21:1-138] (2017)

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In total, 81% of women in the UK start breastfeeding, but fewer than half continue beyond 6 weeks. Peer support in the early postnatal period may encourage women to breastfeed for longer. To develop a breastfeeding peer-support intervention based on motivational interviewing (MI) for breastfeeding maintenance and to test the feasibility of delivering it to mothers in areas with high levels of social deprivation. Intervention development and a non-randomised multisite feasibility study. Community maternity services in three areas with high levels of social deprivation and low breastfeeding initiation rates in England and Wales. Pregnant women considering breastfeeding. Women who did not plan to breastfeed, who had a clinical reason that precluded breastfeeding continuation or who were unable to consent were excluded. The intervention Mam-Kind was informed by a survey of infant feeding co-ordinators, rapid literature review, focus groups with service users and peer supporters and interviews with health-care professionals and a Stakeholder Advisory Group. It consisted of face-to-face contact at 48 hours after birth and proactive one-to-one peer support from the Mam-Kind buddy for 2 weeks, followed by mother-led contact for a further 2-6 weeks. Recruitment and retention of Mam-Kind buddies, uptake of Mam-Kind by participants, feasibility of delivering Mam-Kind as specified and of data collection methods, and acceptability of Mam-Kind to mothers, buddies and health-care professionals. Nine buddies were recruited to deliver Mam-Kind to 70 participants (61% of eligible women who expressed an interest in taking part in the study). Participants were aged between 19 and 41 years and 94% of participants were white. Intervention uptake was 75% and did not vary according to age or parity. Most contacts (79%) were initiated by the buddy, demonstrating the intended proactive nature of the intervention and 73% ( = 51) of participants received a contact within 48 hours. Follow-up data were available for 78% of participants at 10 days and 64% at 8 weeks. Data collection methods were judged feasible and acceptable. Data completeness was > 80% for almost all variables. Interviews with participants, buddies and health service professionals showed that the intervention was acceptable. Buddies delivered the intervention content with fidelity (93% of intervention objectives were met), and, in some cases, developed certain MI skills to a competency level. However, they reported difficulties in changing from an information-giving role to a collaborative approach. These findings were used to refine the training and intervention specification to emphasise the focus of the intervention on providing mother-centric support. Health-care professionals were satisfied that the intervention could be integrated with existing services. The Mam-Kind intervention was acceptable and feasible to deliver within NHS maternity services and should be tested for effectiveness in a multicentre randomised controlled trial. The feasibility study highlighted the need to strengthen strategies for birth notification and retention of participants, and provided some insights on how this could be achieved in a full trial. The response rate to the survey of infant feeding co-ordinators was low (19.5%). In addition, the women who were recruited may not be representative of the study sites. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.


The effectiveness of an enhanced invitation letter on uptake of National Health Service Health Checks in primary care: a pragmatic quasi-randomised controlled trial.

Anna Sallis, Amanda Bunten, Annabelle Bonus, Andrew James, Tim Chadborn, Daniel Berry

BMC family practice [17:35] (2016)

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The National Health Service Health Check (NHS HC) is a population level public health programme. It is a primary prevention initiative offering cardiovascular risk assessment and management for adults aged 40-74 years (every five years). It was designed to reduce the incidence of major vascular disease events by preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes, heart and kidney disease, stroke and vascular dementia . Effectiveness of the programme has been modelled on a national uptake of 75% however in 2012/13 uptake, nationally, was 49%. Ensuring a high percentage of those offered an NHS HC actually receive one is key to optimising the clinical and cost effectiveness of the programme. A pragmatic quasi-randomised controlled trial was conducted in four general practitioner practices in Medway, England with randomisation of 3511 patients. The aim was to compare attendance at the NHS HC using the standard national invitation template letter (control) compared to an enhanced invitation letter using insights from behavioural science (intervention). The intervention letter includes i) simplification - reducing letter content for less effortful processing ii) behavioural instruction - action focused language iii) personal salience - appointment due rather than invited and iv) addressing implementation intentions with a tear off slip to record the date, time and location of the appointment. Logistic Regression explored the association between control and intervention group and attendance at a health check. 29.3% of patients who received the control letter and 33.5% of those who received the intervention letter attended their NHS HC (adjusted odds ratio 1.26, 95% confidence interval 1.09-1.47, p < 0.01). This was an absolute difference in uptake of 4.2 percentage points for those receiving the intervention letter. An invitation letter applying behavioural insights was more effective than the existing national template letter at encouraging attendance at an NHS HC. Making small, no cost behaviourally informed changes to letter invitations can improve uptake of the NHS HC. Further research is required to replicate the effect with more robust methodology and powered for sub-group analysis including socio-economic status. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN66757664 , date of registration 28/3/2014.


Using a mobile health application to reduce alcohol consumption: a mixed-methods evaluation of the drinkaware track & calculate units application.

Sophie Attwood, Hannah Parke, John Larsen, Katie Morton

BMC public health [17:394] (2017)

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Smartphone applications ("apps") offer promise as tools to help people monitor and reduce their alcohol consumption. To date, few evaluations of alcohol reduction apps exist, with even fewer considering apps already available to the public. The aim of this study was to evaluate an existing publically available app, designed by Drinkaware, a UK-based alcohol awareness charity. We adopted a mixed-methods design, analysing routinely collected app usage data to explore user characteristics and patterns of usage. Following this, in-depth interviews were conducted with a sub-sample of app users to examine perceptions of acceptability, usability and perceived effectiveness, as well as to provide recommendations on how to improve the app. One hundred nineteen thousand seven hundred thirteen people downloaded and entered data into the app over a 13-month period. High attrition was observed after 1 week. Users who engaged with the app tended to be "high risk" drinkers and to report being motivated "to reduce drinking" at the point of first download. In those who consistently engaged with the app over time, self-reported alcohol consumption levels reduced, with most change occurring in the first week of usage. Our qualitative findings indicate satisfaction with the usability of the app, but mixed feedback was given regarding individual features. Users expressed conflicting views concerning the type of feedback and notifications that the app currently provides. A common preference was expressed for more personalised content. The Drinkaware app is a useful tool to support behaviour change in individuals who are already motivated and committed to reducing their alcohol consumption. The Drinkaware app would benefit from greater personalisation and tailoring to promote longer term use. This evaluation provides insight into the usability and acceptability of various app features and contains a number of recommendations for improving user satisfaction and the potential effectiveness of apps designed to encourage reductions in alcohol consumption.