Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2015 Mar;45(3):203-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2014.11.014. Epub 2015 Jan 7.

Time for action-Improving the design and reporting of behaviour change interventions for antimicrobial stewardship in hospitals: Early findings from a systematic review.

Author information

Division of Population Health Sciences, Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee, Dundee DD2 4BF, Scotland, UK. Electronic address:
Division of Population Health Sciences, Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee, Dundee DD2 4BF, Scotland, UK.
Centre for Infection Prevention and Management, Imperial College, Hammersmith Campus, London W12 0NN, UK.
Centre for Behaviour Change, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB, UK.


There is strong evidence that self-monitoring and feedback are effective behaviour change techniques (BCTs) across a range of healthcare interventions and that their effectiveness is enhanced by goal setting and action planning. Here we report a summary of the update of a systematic review assessing the application of these BCTs to improving hospital antibiotic prescribing. This paper includes studies with valid prescribing outcomes published before the end of December 2012. We used a structured method for reporting these BCTs in terms of specific characteristics and contacted study authors to request additional intervention information. We identified 116 studies reporting 123 interventions. Reporting of BCTs was poor, with little detail of BCT characteristics. Feedback was only reported for 17 (13.8%) of the interventions, and self-monitoring was used in only 1 intervention. Goals were reported for all interventions but were poorly specified, with only three of the nine characteristics reported for ≥50% of interventions. A goal threshold and timescale were specified for just 1 of the 123 interventions. Only 29 authors (25.0%) responded to the request for additional information. In conclusion, both the content and reporting of interventions for antimicrobial stewardship fell short of scientific principles and practices. There is a strong evidence base regarding BCTs in other contexts that should be applied to antimicrobial stewardship now if we are to further our understanding of what works, for whom, why and in what contexts.


Antibiotic prescribing; Antimicrobial stewardship; Behaviour change techniques; Quality improvement; Systematic review

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center