Melbourne School of Health Sciences Collected Works - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 261
'Help for Hay Fever', a goal-focused intervention for people with intermittent allergic rhinitis, delivered in Scottish community pharmacies: study protocol for a pilot cluster randomized controlled trial
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2013-07-15)
BACKGROUND: Despite the availability of evidence-based guidelines for managing allergic rhinitis in primary care, management of the condition in the United Kingdom (UK) remains sub-optimal. Its high prevalence and negative effects on quality of life, school performance, productivity and co-morbid respiratory conditions (in particular, asthma), and high health and societal costs, make this a priority for developing novel models of care. Recent Australian research demonstrated the potential of a community pharmacy-based 'goal-focused' intervention to help people with intermittent allergic rhinitis to self-manage their condition better, reduce symptom severity and improve quality of life. In this pilot study we will assess the transferability of the goal-focused intervention to a UK context, the suitability of the intervention materials, procedures and outcome measures and collect data to inform a future definitive UK randomized controlled trial (RCT). METHODS/DESIGN: A pilot cluster RCT with associated preliminary economic analysis and embedded qualitative evaluation. The pilot trial will take place in two Scottish Health Board areas: Grampian and Greater Glasgow & Clyde. Twelve community pharmacies will be randomly assigned to intervention or usual care group. Each will recruit 12 customers seeking advice or treatment for intermittent allergic rhinitis. Pharmacy staff in intervention pharmacies will support recruited customers in developing strategies for setting and achieving goals that aim to avoid/minimize triggers for, and eliminate/minimize symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Customers recruited in non-intervention pharmacies will receive usual care. The co-primary outcome measures, selected to inform a sample size calculation for a future RCT, are: community pharmacy and customer recruitment and completion rates; and effect size of change in the validated mini-Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire between baseline, one-week and six-weeks post-intervention. Secondary outcome measures relate to changes in symptom severity, productivity, medication adherence and self-efficacy. Quantitative data about accrual, retention and economic measures, and qualitative data about participants' experiences during the trial will be collected to inform the future RCT. DISCUSSION: This work will lay the foundations for a definitive RCT of a community pharmacy-based 'goal-focused' self-management intervention for people with intermittent allergic rhinitis. Results of the pilot trial are expected to be available in April 2013. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43606442.
'It's a can of worms': understanding primary care practitioners' behaviours in relation to HPV using the theoretical domains framework
BACKGROUND: The relationship between infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer is transforming cervical cancer prevention. HPV tests and vaccinations have recently become available. In Ireland, as elsewhere, primary care practitioners play a key role in prevention. ATHENS (A Trial of HPV Education and Support) aims to develop a theory-based intervention to support primary care practitioners in their HPV-related practice. This study, the first step in the intervention development process, aimed to: identify HPV-related clinical behaviours that the intervention will target; clarify general practitioners' (GPs') and practice nurses' roles and responsibilities; and determine factors that potentially influence clinical behaviour. A secondary objective was to informally assess the utility of the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) in understanding clinical behaviours in an area with an evolving evidence-base. METHODS: In-depth semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with GPs and practice nurses. The topic guide, which contained open questions and HPV-related clinical scenarios, was developed through literature review and clinical experience. Interview transcripts were content-analysed using the TDF as the coding framework. RESULTS: 19 GPs and 14 practice nurses were interviewed. The major HPV-related clinical behaviours were: initiating a discussion about HPV infection with female patients; offering/recommending HPV vaccination to appropriate patients; and answering patients' questions about HPV testing. While the responsibility for taking smears was considered a female role, both male and female practitioners dealt with HPV-related issues. All 12 theoretical domains arose in relation to HPV infection; the domains judged to be most important were: knowledge, emotion, social influences, beliefs about capabilities and beliefs about consequences. Eleven domains emerged in relation to HPV vaccination, with beliefs about consequences, social influences, knowledge and environmental context and resources judged to be the most important. Nine domains were relevant to HPV testing, with knowledge and beliefs about capabilities judged to be the most important. CONCLUSIONS: The findings confirm the need for an intervention to support primary care practitioners around HPV and suggest it should target a range of theoretical domains. The TDF proved valuable in analysing qualitative data collected using a topic guide not specifically designed to capture TDF domains and understanding clinical behaviours in an area with an evolving evidence-base.
'We are very individual': anticipated effects on stroke survivors of using their person-generated health data.
(BMJ Publishing Group, 2020-09-13)
BACKGROUND: Person-generated health data (PGHD) are produced by people when they use health information technologies. People who use PGHD may experience changes in their health and care process, such as engagement with their own healthcare, and their sense of social support and connectedness. Research into evaluating those reported effects has not kept up; thus, a method for measuring PGHD outcomes was previously designed and applied to the exemplar case of Kinect-based stroke rehabilitation systems. A key step of the method ensures that the patient's voice is included. Allowing stroke survivors to participate in the development and evaluation of health services and treatment can inform healthcare providers on decisions about stroke care, and thereby improve health outcomes. OBJECTIVE: This paper presents the perspectives of stroke survivors and clinicians on the anticipated effects of stroke survivors' use of PGHD from a poststroke simulated rehabilitation technology. METHODS: This study gathered the perspectives of stroke survivors and clinicians through three focus groups and three interviews, recruited for convenience. Participants were also asked questions intended to encourage them to comment on the initial items of the patient-reported outcome measure-PGHD. Deductive thematic analysis was performed. RESULTS: This paper has further demonstrated that outcomes of using PGHD can be measured. For instance, stroke survivors described that using PGHD could result in positive, negative and nil effects on their health behaviours. Survivors and clinicians had varying perspectives in three of the six themes presented, and emphasise the importance of allowing stroke survivors to participate in the evaluation of digital health services.
?It ? s not hands-on therapy, so it ? s very limited ? : Telehealth use and views among allied health clinicians during the coronavirus pandemic *
BACKGROUND: Telehealth services have helped enable continuity of care during the coronavirus pandemic. We aimed to investigate use and views towards telehealth among allied health clinicians treating people with musculoskeletal conditions during the pandemic. METHODS: Cross-sectional international survey of allied health clinicians who used telehealth to manage musculoskeletal conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Questions covered demographics, clinician-related factors (e.g. profession, clinical experience and setting), telehealth use (e.g. proportion of caseload, treatments used), attitudes towards telehealth (Likert scale), and perceived barriers and enablers (open questions). Data were presented descriptively, and an inductive thematic content analysis approach was used for qualitative data, based on the Capability-Opportunity-Motivation Behavioural Model. RESULTS: 827 clinicians participated, mostly physiotherapists (82%) working in Australia (70%). Most (71%, 587/827) reported reduced revenue (mean (SD) 62% (24.7%)) since the pandemic commenced. Median proportion of people seen via telehealth increased from 0% pre (IQR 0 to 1) to 60% during the pandemic (IQR 10 to 100). Most clinicians reported managing common musculoskeletal conditions via telehealth. Less than half (42%) of clinicians surveyed believed telehealth was as effective as face-to-face care. A quarter or less believed patients value telehealth to the same extent (25%), or that they have sufficient telehealth training (21%). Lack of physical contact when working through telehealth was perceived to hamper accurate and effective diagnosis and management. CONCLUSION: Although telehealth was adopted by allied health clinicians during the coronavirus pandemic, we identified barriers that may limit continued telehealth use among allied health clinicians beyond the current pandemic.
A 12-Week Multi-Modal Exercise Program: Feasibility of Combined Exercise and Simplified 8-Style Tai Chi Following Lung Cancer Surgery
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2020-08-01)
OBJECTIVE: To assess the feasibility, safety, and preliminary effect of a 12-week multi-modal rehabilitation program targeted at improving health-related quality of life and physical activity levels of patients with lung cancer following treatment. METHODS: Patients with stage I to IIIA non-small cell lung cancer were included 6 to 12 weeks following completion of treatment. The intervention comprised of aerobic exercise (brisk walking), resistance training and 8-style Tai Chi. The 12-week program included 2 supervised center-based sessions per week of 90 minutes duration and home-based exercise. The primary outcomes were the feasibility and safety of the intervention. Secondary outcomes (assessed pre and post program) were physical and patient-reported outcomes. RESULTS: Seventy-eight patients were approached during the 6-month recruitment period and 17 (22%) consented to the study. Eight participants (47%) met the definition of adherence to the program (attending at least 70% of supervised sessions). No serious adverse events occurred. A significant reduction in anxiety and depression was observed post-program. In addition, improvements in respiratory function, sleep quality, and some health-related quality of life domains were observed post-program. There were no significant differences in functional capacity or physical activity levels. CONCLUSION: This multi-modal exercise training program was safe, although the feasibility of the program in its current state is not supported given the low consent rate and low adherence to the intervention.
A behavioural approach to specifying interventions: what insights can be gained for the reporting and implementation of interventions to reduce antibiotic use in hospitals?
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2020-05-01)
BACKGROUND: Reducing unnecessary antibiotic exposure is a key strategy in reducing the development and selection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Hospital antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) interventions are inherently complex, often requiring multiple healthcare professionals to change multiple behaviours at multiple timepoints along the care pathway. Inaction can arise when roles and responsibilities are unclear. A behavioural perspective can offer insights to maximize the chances of successful implementation. OBJECTIVES: To apply a behavioural framework [the Target Action Context Timing Actors (TACTA) framework] to existing evidence about hospital AMS interventions to specify which key behavioural aspects of interventions are detailed. METHODS: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and interrupted time series (ITS) studies with a focus on reducing unnecessary exposure to antibiotics were identified from the most recent Cochrane review of interventions to improve hospital AMS. The TACTA framework was applied to published intervention reports to assess the extent to which key details were reported about what behaviour should be performed, who is responsible for doing it and when, where, how often and with whom it should be performed. RESULTS: The included studies (n = 45; 31 RCTs and 14 ITS studies with 49 outcome measures) reported what should be done, where and to whom. However, key details were missing about who should act (45%) and when (22%). Specification of who should act was missing in 79% of 15 interventions to reduce duration of treatment in continuing-care wards. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of precise specification within AMS interventions limits the generalizability and reproducibility of evidence, hampering efforts to implement AMS interventions in practice.
A Blue-Enriched, Increased Intensity Light Intervention to Improve Alertness and Performance in Rotating Night Shift Workers in an Operational Setting
(DOVE MEDICAL PRESS LTD, 2021-01-01)
Purpose: This study examined the efficacy of a lighting intervention that increased both light intensity and short-wavelength (blue) light content to improve alertness, performance and mood in night shift workers in a chemical plant. Patients and Methods: During rostered night shifts, 28 workers (46.0±10.8 years; 27 male) were exposed to two light conditions each for two consecutive nights (~19:00-07:00 h) in a counterbalanced repeated measures design: traditional-spectrum lighting set at pre-study levels (43 lux, 4000 K) versus higher intensity, blue-enriched lighting (106 lux, 17,000 K), equating to a 4.5-fold increase in melanopic illuminance (24 to 108 melanopic illuminance). Participants completed the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, subjective mood ratings, and the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) every 2-4 hours during the night shift. Results: A significant main effect of time indicated KSS, PVT mean reaction time, number of PVT lapses (reaction times > 500 ms) and subjective tension, misery and depression worsened over the course of the night shift (p<0.05). Percentage changes in KSS (p<0.05, partial η2=0.14) and PVT mean reaction time (p<0.05, partial η2=0.19) and lapses (p<0.05, partial η2=0.17) in the middle and end of night shift, expressed relative to start of shift, were significantly improved during the lighting intervention compared to the traditional lighting condition. Self-reported mood did not significantly differ between conditions (p>0.05). Conclusion: Our findings, showing improvements in alertness and performance with exposure to blue-enriched, increased intensity light, provide support for light to be used as a countermeasure for impaired alertness in night shift work settings.
A cross-country comparison of intensive care physicians' beliefs about their transfusion behaviour: A qualitative study using the theoretical domains framework
BACKGROUND: Evidence of variations in red blood cell transfusion practices have been reported in a wide range of clinical settings. Parallel studies in Canada and the United Kingdom were designed to explore transfusion behaviour in intensive care physicians. The aim of this paper is three-fold: first, to explore beliefs that influence Canadian intensive care physicians' transfusion behaviour; second, to systematically select relevant theories and models using the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to inform a future predictive study; and third, to compare its results with the UK study. METHODS: Ten intensive care unit (ICU) physicians throughout Canada were interviewed. Physicians' responses were coded into theoretical domains, and specific beliefs were generated for each response. Theoretical domains relevant to behaviour change were identified, and specific constructs from the relevant domains were used to select psychological theories. The results from Canada and the United Kingdom were compared. RESULTS: Seven theoretical domains populated by 31 specific beliefs were identified as relevant to the target behaviour. The domains Beliefs about capabilities (confident to not transfuse if patients' clinical condition is stable), Beliefs about consequences (positive beliefs of reducing infection and saving resources and negative beliefs about risking patients' clinical outcome and potentially more work), Social influences (transfusion decision is influenced by team members and patients' relatives), and Behavioural regulation (wide range of approaches to encourage restrictive transfusion) that were identified in the UK study were also relevant in the Canadian context. Three additional domains, Knowledge (it requires more evidence to support restrictive transfusion), Social/professional role and identity (conflicting beliefs about not adhering to guidelines, referring to evidence, believing restrictive transfusion as professional standard, and believing that guideline is important for other professionals), and Motivation and goals (opposing beliefs about the importance of restrictive transfusion and compatibility with other goals), were also identified in this study. Similar to the UK study, the Theory of Planned Behaviour, Social Cognitive Theory, Operant Learning Theory, Action Planning, and Knowledge-Attitude-Behaviour model were identified as potentially relevant theories and models for further study. Personal project analysis was added to the Canadian study to explore the Motivation and goals domain in further detail. CONCLUSIONS: A wide range of beliefs was identified by the Canadian ICU physicians as likely to influence their transfusion behaviour. We were able to demonstrate similar though not identical results in a cross-country comparison. Designing targeted behaviour-change interventions based on unique beliefs identified by physicians from two countries are more likely to encourage restrictive transfusion in ICU physicians in respective countries. This needs to be tested in future prospective clinical trials.
A Deep Learning Model to Automate Skeletal Muscle Area Measurement on Computed Tomography Images
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-05-07)
Background: Muscle wasting (Sarcopenia) is associated with poor outcomes in cancer patients. Early identification of sarcopenia can facilitate nutritional and exercise intervention. Cross-sectional skeletal muscle (SM) area at the third lumbar vertebra (L3) slice of a computed tomography (CT) image is increasingly used to assess body composition and calculate SM index (SMI), a validated surrogate marker for sarcopenia in cancer. Manual segmentation of SM requires multiple steps, which limits use in routine clinical practice. This project aims to develop an automatic method to segment L3 muscle in CT scans. Methods: Attenuation correction CTs from full body PET-CT scans from patients enrolled in two prospective trials were used. The training set consisted of 66 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who underwent curative intent radiotherapy. An additional 42 NSCLC patients prescribed curative intent chemo-radiotherapy from a second trial were used for testing. Each patient had multiple CT scans taken at different time points prior to and post- treatment (147 CTs in the training and validation set and 116 CTs in the independent testing set). Skeletal muscle at L3 vertebra was manually segmented by two observers, according to the Alberta protocol to serve as ground truth labels. This included 40 images segmented by both observers to measure inter-observer variation. An ensemble of 2.5D fully convolutional neural networks (U-Nets) was used to perform the segmentation. The final layer of U-Net produced the binary classification of the pixels into muscle and non-muscle area. The model performance was calculated using Dice score and absolute percentage error (APE) in skeletal muscle area between manual and automated contours. Results: We trained five 2.5D U-Nets using 5-fold cross validation and used them to predict the contours in the testing set. The model achieved a mean Dice score of 0.92 and an APE of 3.1% on the independent testing set. This was similar to inter-observer variation of 0.96 and 2.9% for mean Dice and APE respectively. We further quantified the performance of sarcopenia classification using computer generated skeletal muscle area. To meet a clinical diagnosis of sarcopenia based on Alberta protocol the model achieved a sensitivity of 84% and a specificity of 95%. Conclusions: This work demonstrates an automated method for accurate and reproducible segmentation of skeletal muscle area at L3. This is an efficient tool for large scale or routine computation of skeletal muscle area in cancer patients which may have applications on low quality CTs acquired as part of PET/CT studies for staging and surveillance of patients with cancer.
A feasibility study of a theory-based intervention to improve appropriate polypharmacy for older people in primary care.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2018)
BACKGROUND: A general practitioner (GP)-targeted intervention aimed at improving the prescribing of appropriate polypharmacy for older people was previously developed using a systematic, theory-based approach based on the UK Medical Research Council's complex intervention framework. The primary intervention component comprised a video demonstration of a GP prescribing appropriate polypharmacy during a consultation with an older patient. The video was delivered to GPs online and included feedback emphasising the positive outcomes of performing the behaviour. As a complementary intervention component, patients were invited to scheduled medication review consultations with GPs. This study aimed to test the feasibility of the intervention and study procedures (recruitment, data collection). METHODS: GPs from two general practices were given access to the video, and reception staff scheduled consultations with older patients receiving polypharmacy (≥4 medicines). Primary feasibility study outcomes were the usability and acceptability of the intervention to GPs. Feedback was collected from GP and patient participants using structured questionnaires. Clinical data were also extracted from recruited patients' medical records (baseline and 1 month post-consultation). The feasibility of applying validated assessment of prescribing appropriateness (STOPP/START criteria, Medication Appropriateness Index) and medication regimen complexity (Medication Regimen Complexity Index) to these data was investigated. Data analysis was descriptive, providing an overview of participants' feedback and clinical assessment findings. RESULTS: Four GPs and ten patients were recruited across two practices. The intervention was considered usable and acceptable by GPs. Some reservations were expressed by GPs as to whether the video truly reflected resource and time pressures encountered in the general practice working environment. Patient feedback on the scheduled consultations was positive. Patients welcomed the opportunity to have their medications reviewed. Due to the short time to follow-up and a lack of detailed clinical information in patient records, it was not feasible to detect any prescribing changes or to apply the assessment tools to patients' clinical data. CONCLUSION: The findings will help to further refine the intervention and study procedures (including time to follow-up) which will be tested in a randomised pilot study that will inform the design of a definitive trial to evaluate the intervention's effectiveness. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN18176245.
A guide to using the Theoretical Domains Framework of behaviour change to investigate implementation problems
BACKGROUND: Implementing new practices requires changes in the behaviour of relevant actors, and this is facilitated by understanding of the determinants of current and desired behaviours. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) was developed by a collaboration of behavioural scientists and implementation researchers who identified theories relevant to implementation and grouped constructs from these theories into domains. The collaboration aimed to provide a comprehensive, theory-informed approach to identify determinants of behaviour. The first version was published in 2005, and a subsequent version following a validation exercise was published in 2012. This guide offers practical guidance for those who wish to apply the TDF to assess implementation problems and support intervention design. It presents a brief rationale for using a theoretical approach to investigate and address implementation problems, summarises the TDF and its development, and describes how to apply the TDF to achieve implementation objectives. Examples from the implementation research literature are presented to illustrate relevant methods and practical considerations. METHODS: Researchers from Canada, the UK and Australia attended a 3-day meeting in December 2012 to build an international collaboration among researchers and decision-makers interested in the advancing use of the TDF. The participants were experienced in using the TDF to assess implementation problems, design interventions, and/or understand change processes. This guide is an output of the meeting and also draws on the authors' collective experience. Examples from the implementation research literature judged by authors to be representative of specific applications of the TDF are included in this guide. RESULTS: We explain and illustrate methods, with a focus on qualitative approaches, for selecting and specifying target behaviours key to implementation, selecting the study design, deciding the sampling strategy, developing study materials, collecting and analysing data, and reporting findings of TDF-based studies. Areas for development include methods for triangulating data, e.g. from interviews, questionnaires and observation and methods for designing interventions based on TDF-based problem analysis. CONCLUSIONS: We offer this guide to the implementation community to assist in the application of the TDF to achieve implementation objectives. Benefits of using the TDF include the provision of a theoretical basis for implementation studies, good coverage of potential reasons for slow diffusion of evidence into practice and a method for progressing from theory-based investigation to intervention.
A multidimensional approach to assessing intervention fidelity in a process evaluation of audit and feedback interventions to reduce unnecessary blood transfusions: a study protocol
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2016-12-12)
BACKGROUND: In England, NHS Blood and Transplant conducts national audits of transfusion and provides feedback to hospitals to promote evidence-based practice. Audits demonstrate 20% of transfusions fall outside guidelines. The AFFINITIE programme (Development & Evaluation of Audit and Feedback INterventions to Increase evidence-based Transfusion practIcE) involves two linked, 2×2 factorial, cluster-randomised trials, each evaluating two theoretically-enhanced audit and feedback interventions to reduce unnecessary blood transfusions in UK hospitals. The first intervention concerns the content/format of feedback reports. The second aims to support hospital transfusion staff to plan their response to feedback and includes a web-based toolkit and telephone support. Interpretation of trials is enhanced by comprehensively assessing intervention fidelity. However, reviews demonstrate fidelity evaluations are often limited, typically only assessing whether interventions were delivered as intended. This protocol presents methods for assessing fidelity across five dimensions proposed by the Behaviour Change Consortium fidelity framework, including intervention designer-, provider- and recipient-levels. METHODS: (1) Design: Intervention content will be specified in intervention manuals in terms of component behaviour change techniques (BCTs). Treatment differentiation will be examined by comparing BCTs across intervention/standard practice, noting the proportion of unique/convergent BCTs. (2) Training: draft feedback reports and audio-recorded role-play telephone support scenarios will be content analysed to assess intervention providers' competence to deliver manual-specified BCTs. (3) Delivery: intervention materials (feedback reports, toolkit) and audio-recorded telephone support session transcripts will be content analysed to assess actual delivery of manual-specified BCTs during the intervention period. (4) Receipt and (5) enactment: questionnaires, semi-structured interviews based on the Theoretical Domains Framework, and objective web-analytics data (report downloads, toolkit usage patterns) will be analysed to assess hospital transfusion staff exposure to, understanding and enactment of the interventions, and to identify contextual barriers/enablers to implementation. Associations between observed fidelity and trial outcomes (% unnecessary transfusions) will be examined using mediation analyses. DISCUSSION: If the interventions have acceptable fidelity, then results of the AFFINITIE trials can be attributed to effectiveness, or lack of effectiveness, of the interventions. Hence, this comprehensive assessment of fidelity will be used to interpret trial findings. These methods may inform fidelity assessments in future trials. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN 15490813 . Registered 11/03/2015.