Exploring the role of competing demands and routines during the implementation of a self-management tool for type 2 diabetes: A theory-based qualitative interview study

Sebastian Potthoff, Justin Presseau, Falko Sniehotta, Matthew Breckons, Amy Rylance, Leah Avery

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The implementation of new medical interventions into routine care involves healthcare professionals adopting new clinical behaviours and changing existing ones. Whilst theory-based approaches can help understand healthcare professionals’ behaviours, such approaches often focus on a single behaviour and conceptualise its performance in terms of an underlying reflective process. Such approaches fail to consider the impact of non-reflective influences (e.g. habit and automaticity) and how the myriad of competing demands for their time may influence uptake. The current study aimed to apply a dual process theoretical approach to account for reflective and automatic determinants of healthcare professional behaviour while integrating a multiple behaviour approach to understanding the implementation and use of a new self-management tool by healthcare professionals in the context of diabetes care.

Following Diabetes UK’s national release of the ‘Information Prescription’ (DUK IP; a self-management tool targeting the management of cholesterol, blood pressure and HbA1c) in January 2015, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 13 healthcare professionals (general practitioners and nurses) who had started to use the DUK IP during consultations to provide self-management advice to people with type 2 diabetes. A theory-based topic guide included pre-specified constructs from a previously developed logic model. We elicited healthcare professionals’ views on reflective processes (outcome expectations, self-efficacy, intention, action and coping planning), automatic processes (habit), and multiple behaviour processes (goal priority, goal conflict and goal facilitation). All interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim and all transcripts were independently double coded and analysed using content analysis.

The majority of healthcare professionals interviewed reported strong intentions to use the DUK IP and having formed a habit of using them after a minimum of one month continuous use. Pop-up cues in the electronic patient records were perceived to facilitate the use of the tool. Factors that conflicted with the use of the DUK IP included existing pathways of providing self-management advice.

Data suggests that constructs from dual process and multiple behaviour approaches are useful to provide supplemental understanding of the implementation of new self-management tools such as the DUK IP and may help to advance behavioural approaches to implementation science.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2019


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