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      Using environmental engineering to increase hand hygiene compliance: a cross-over study protocol

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          Compliance with hand hygiene recommendations in hospital is typically less than 50%. Such low compliance inevitably contributes to hospital-acquired infections that negatively affect patients’ well-being and hospitals’ finances. The design of the present study is predicated on the assumption that most people who fail to clean their hands are not doing so intentionally, they just forget. The present study will test whether psychological priming can be used to increase the number of people who clean their hands on entering a ward. Here, we present the protocol for this study.

          Methods and analysis

          The study will use a randomised cross-over design. During the study, each of four wards will be observed during four conditions: olfactory prime, visual prime, both primes and neither prime. Each condition will be experienced for 42 days followed by a 7-day washout period (total duration of trial=189 days). We will record the number of people who enter each ward and whether they clean their hands during observation sessions, the amount of cleaning material used from the dispensers each week and the number of hospital-acquired infections that occur in each period. The outcomes will be compared using a regression analysis. Following the initial trail, the most effective priming condition will be rolled out for 3 months in all the wards.

          Ethics and dissemination

          Research ethics approval was obtained from the South Central—Oxford C Research Ethics Committee (16/SC/0554), the Health Regulatory Authority and the sponsor.

          Trial registration number

          ISRCTN (15397624); Edge ID 86357.

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          Most cited references 47

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          The behaviour change wheel: A new method for characterising and designing behaviour change interventions

          Background Improving the design and implementation of evidence-based practice depends on successful behaviour change interventions. This requires an appropriate method for characterising interventions and linking them to an analysis of the targeted behaviour. There exists a plethora of frameworks of behaviour change interventions, but it is not clear how well they serve this purpose. This paper evaluates these frameworks, and develops and evaluates a new framework aimed at overcoming their limitations. Methods A systematic search of electronic databases and consultation with behaviour change experts were used to identify frameworks of behaviour change interventions. These were evaluated according to three criteria: comprehensiveness, coherence, and a clear link to an overarching model of behaviour. A new framework was developed to meet these criteria. The reliability with which it could be applied was examined in two domains of behaviour change: tobacco control and obesity. Results Nineteen frameworks were identified covering nine intervention functions and seven policy categories that could enable those interventions. None of the frameworks reviewed covered the full range of intervention functions or policies, and only a minority met the criteria of coherence or linkage to a model of behaviour. At the centre of a proposed new framework is a 'behaviour system' involving three essential conditions: capability, opportunity, and motivation (what we term the 'COM-B system'). This forms the hub of a 'behaviour change wheel' (BCW) around which are positioned the nine intervention functions aimed at addressing deficits in one or more of these conditions; around this are placed seven categories of policy that could enable those interventions to occur. The BCW was used reliably to characterise interventions within the English Department of Health's 2010 tobacco control strategy and the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence's guidance on reducing obesity. Conclusions Interventions and policies to change behaviour can be usefully characterised by means of a BCW comprising: a 'behaviour system' at the hub, encircled by intervention functions and then by policy categories. Research is needed to establish how far the BCW can lead to more efficient design of effective interventions.
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            The behavior change technique taxonomy (v1) of 93 hierarchically clustered techniques: building an international consensus for the reporting of behavior change interventions.

            CONSORT guidelines call for precise reporting of behavior change interventions: we need rigorous methods of characterizing active content of interventions with precision and specificity. The objective of this study is to develop an extensive, consensually agreed hierarchically structured taxonomy of techniques [behavior change techniques (BCTs)] used in behavior change interventions. In a Delphi-type exercise, 14 experts rated labels and definitions of 124 BCTs from six published classification systems. Another 18 experts grouped BCTs according to similarity of active ingredients in an open-sort task. Inter-rater agreement amongst six researchers coding 85 intervention descriptions by BCTs was assessed. This resulted in 93 BCTs clustered into 16 groups. Of the 26 BCTs occurring at least five times, 23 had adjusted kappas of 0.60 or above. "BCT taxonomy v1," an extensive taxonomy of 93 consensually agreed, distinct BCTs, offers a step change as a method for specifying interventions, but we anticipate further development and evaluation based on international, interdisciplinary consensus.
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              The unbearable automaticity of being.


                Author and article information

                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                11 September 2017
                : 7
                : 9
                [1 ]departmentBehavioural Science Group , Warwick Business School, The University of Warwick , Coventry, UK
                [2 ]departmentPrimary Care Clinical Sciences Institute of Applied Health Research, College of Medical and Dental Sciences , University of Birmingham , Birmingham, UK
                [3 ]departmentInfection Prevention and Control , Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust , Birmingham, UK
                [4 ]departmentAlliance Manchester Business School , The University of Manchester , Manchester, UK
                [5 ]departmentDepartment of Public Health Sciences, Division of Biostatistics , University of Miami Miller School of Medicine , Miami, Florida, USA
                [6 ]departmentCentre for Health Policy, Institute of Global Health Innovation , Imperial College London , London, UK
                [7 ]departmentDepartment of Anesthesiology , University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine , Miami, Florida, USA
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr Kelly Ann Schmidtke; Kelly.Schmidtke@
                © Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2017. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

                Funded by: The Health Foundation;
                Health Services Research
                Custom metadata


                hospital acquired infections., hand-hygiene, environmental engineering, priming


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