Three research projects have been chosen as part of the Health Foundation’s programme supporting research that designs, tests and evaluates behavioural interventions that can improve efficiency and reduce waste in health care services in the UK.
The projects for this round of the Behavioural Insights Research programme are all rooted in ‘behavioural insights’ or ‘nudge theory’, and focus on care best practice or medicines optimisation. Specifically, the three projects will look at reducing harm from urinary catheters, improving mechanical ventilator wean, and optimising medication prescribing.
The research teams will work to understand the motivations for acting safely and efficiently in their area of health care, design appropriate new behavioural interventions, examine how the interventions work and for whom, and provide lessons on spread in a UK health care services context.
The projects will see behavioural scientists working alongside frontline staff, helping them to apply and test the insights and methods of behavioural science in rigorous experiments that seek to improve efficiency and reduce waste.
Each project has received between £220,000 and £440,000 for research to be completed over two to three years, from April 2019.
The selection of these projects is currently subject to contracts being finalised with the lead organisation of each project.
The projects are:
- From thermometers to thermostats: taking control of preventable harm from urinary catheters – Health Innovation Network
This project will use behavioural science expertise to enhance the efficacy and scale of a catheter care bundle, investigating whether behavioural change interventions can encourage early checking of whether a catheter can be removed, therefore improving care and reducing the risk of infections in these patients.
- Real-time data analytics to improve mechanical ventilator wean: guiding clinical behaviour (ATTITUDE study) – Queen’s University of Belfast
A project that will use behavioural insights to understand the barriers to implementing evidence-based care in complex critically ill patients, and will involve developing a clinical decision support tool to improve clinical practice around weaning from ventilation, sedation, oxygen and fluid use in an adult intensive care setting.
- Nudging more cost-effective medication use across NHS organisations – University of Warwick
Common reasons for sub-optimal prescribing and use will be identified through this project, using behavioural insights, with the aim of optimising health care workers’ medication prescribing and use choices, improving understanding of patient experience, and prioritising medication safety.
This evidence review explores nudge-type interventions with potential to increase efficiency and reduce waste in health care.
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