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Interventions for sustained healthcare professional behaviour change: a protocol for an overview of reviews


Stephan U. Dombrowski

Pauline Campbell

Helen Frost

Alex Pollock

Julie McLellan

Steve MacGillivray

Anna Gavine

Margaret Maxwell


Helen Cheyne

Justin Presseau

Brian Williams


Failure to successfully implement and sustain change over the long term continues to be a major problem in health and social care. Translating evidence into routine clinical practice is notoriously complex, and it is recognised that to implement new evidence-based interventions and sustain them over time, professional behaviour needs to change accordingly. A number of theories and frameworks have been developed to support behaviour change among health and social care professionals, and models of sustainability are emerging, but few have translated into valid and reliable interventions. The long-term success of healthcare professional behavioural change interventions is variable, and the characteristics of successful interventions unclear. Previous reviews have synthesised the evidence for behaviour change, but none have focused on sustainability. In addition, multiple overlapping reviews have reported inconsistent results, which do not aid translation of evidence into practice. Overviews of reviews can provide accessible succinct summaries of evidence and address barriers to evidence-based practice. We aim to compile an overview of reviews, identifying, appraising and synthesising evidence relating to sustained social and healthcare professional behaviour change.
We will conduct a systematic review of Cochrane reviews (an Overview). We plan to systematically search the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. We will include all systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials comparing a healthcare professional targeted behaviour change intervention to a standard care or no intervention control group. Two reviewers will independently assess the eligibility of the reviews and the methodological quality of included reviews using the ROBIS tool. The quality of evidence within each comparison in each review will be judged based on the GRADE criteria. Disagreements will be resolved through discussion. Effects of interventions will be systematically tabulated and the quality of evidence used to determine implications for clinical practice and make recommendations for future research.
This overview will bring together the best available evidence relating to the sustainability of health professional behaviour change, thus supporting policy makers with decision-making in this field.


Dombrowski, S. U., Campbell, P., Frost, H., Pollock, A., McLellan, J., MacGillivray, S., …Williams, B. (2016). Interventions for sustained healthcare professional behaviour change: a protocol for an overview of reviews. Systematic Reviews, 5(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 5, 2016
Online Publication Date Oct 13, 2016
Publication Date 2016-12
Deposit Date Oct 17, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 17, 2017
Journal Systematic Reviews
Print ISSN 2046-4053
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 1
Article Number 173
Keywords Overview, sustainability, professional behaviour change, Interventions, Healthcare
Public URL


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