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BMJ Publishing Group, BMJ Open, 10(10), p. e035793, 2020

DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035793



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Developing a behavioural intervention package to identify and amend incorrect penicillin allergy records in UK general practice and subsequently change antibiotic use

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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ObjectivesTo develop a behavioural intervention package to support clinicians and patients to amend incorrect penicillin allergy records in general practice. The intervention aimed to: (1) support clinicians to refer patients for penicillin allergy testing (PAT), (2) support patients to attend for PAT and (3) support clinicians and patients to prescribe or consume penicillin, when indicated, following a negative PAT result.MethodsTheory-based, evidence-based and person-based approaches were used in the intervention development. We used evidence from a rapid review, two qualitative studies, and expert consultations with the clinical research team to identify the intervention ‘guiding principles’ and develop an intervention plan. Barriers and facilitators to the target behaviours were mapped to behaviour change theory in order to describe the proposed mechanisms of change. In the final stage, think-aloud interviews were conducted to optimise intervention materials.ResultsThe collated evidence showed that the key barriers to referral of patients by clinicians were limited experience of referral and limited knowledge of referral criteria and PAT. Barriers for patients attending PAT were lack of knowledge of the benefits of testing and lack of motivation to get tested. The key barriers to the prescription and consumption of first-line penicillin following a negative test result were patient and clinician beliefs about the accuracy of PAT and whether taking penicillin was safe. Intervention materials were designed and developed to address these barriers.ConclusionsWe present a novel behavioural intervention package designed to address the multiple barriers to uptake of PAT in general practice by clinicians and patients. The intervention development details how behaviour change techniques have been incorporated to hypothesise how the intervention is likely to work to help amend incorrect penicillin allergy records. The intervention will go on to be tested in a feasibility trial and randomised controlled trial in England.