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Implementation Science

, 12:30

First Online: 04 March 2017Received: 19 April 2016Accepted: 17 February 2017DOI: 10.1186-s13012-017-0560-5

Cite this article as: Colquhoun, H.L., Squires, J.E., Kolehmainen, N. et al. Implementation Sci 2017 12: 30. doi:10.1186-s13012-017-0560-5


BackgroundSystematic 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.

MethodsA 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.

Results3966 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.

ConclusionsThere 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.

KeywordsKnowledge translation Systematic review Intervention design Methodology AbbreviationsADDIEAnalysis, Development, Design, Implementation, Evaluation Method

TDFITheoretical Domains Framework Implementation Approach

HCPHealthcare professional

KTKnowledge translation

MRCMedical Research Council

QUERIQuality Enhancement Research Initiative

TDFTheoretical Domains Framework

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s13012-017-0560-5 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Heather L. Colquhoun - Janet E. Squires - Niina Kolehmainen - Cynthia Fraser - Jeremy M. Grimshaw


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