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Antibiotic prescribing – A behavioural scientific approach

Antibiotic prescribing - A behavioural scientific approach
Two surgeons in conversation
© flickr photo by phalinn shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

There is compelling evidence that feedback and self-monitoring are effective behaviour change techniques across a range of healthcare interventions and that their effectiveness is enhanced by goal setting and action planning.

The effects of self-monitoring and feedback can be understood within Control Theory, a model of self-regulation derived from empirical research in social, clinical and health psychology.

Control Theory postulates that behaviour change is most likely if feedback about your performance is accompanied by a comparison with a performance target, and that behaviour change is improved further by providing strategies to reduce any observed discrepancies between your target performance and your actual performance.

Comparative benchmarking between prescribers, clinical groups or even hospitals has also been shown to be effective behaviour change technique.

What is goal setting?

Goal setting sets an aim for improvement that includes both threshold and time for achieving change and requires you to define “how good by when”?

Table titled 'Example of goal setting to improve peri-operative antibiotic prophylaxis in women undergoing caesarean section in a resource-constraint setting with the aim to reduce post-operative infections'.Click here to enlarge

Example of goal setting determinants to improve peri-operative antibiotic prophylaxis in women undergoing caesarean section in a resource-constraint setting, with the aim to reduce post-operative infections

What is action planning?

Action planning, in which a specific behaviour is planned within a particular context of who, when, where and how, has also been found to be an important technique in many areas of behaviour change

Table titled 'Examples of action planning to improve behaviour change'Click here to enlarge

Based on what you have learnt so far, download, save and print the behaviour change technique (BCT checklist) and choose a topic or area of improvement or process of care for your hospital and briefly describe how you would provide feedback including providing goals and action plans. Keep printed and completed checklist in mind when you design a feedback intervention for your hospital

Behaviour change is also covered in more detail in these additional FutureLearn courses, provided by BSAC: Utilising Social Science and Behaviour Change in Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes: Improving Healthcare and Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance: A Social Science Approach.

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