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Behavioural Science

Within the remit of the NIHR PSTRCs there’s a responsibility to develop and test ideas that improve patient safety with a focus on behavioural and digital interventions.

Digital interventions are developed and tested through our Safety Informatics theme, and many of the interventions across all themes to improve safety are behavioural. For example, the following patient safety projects are underway at the GM PSTRC and include a strong emphasis on behavioural science:

  • The adaptation of a theory-based behaviour change intervention that reduces suicidal ideation and behaviour to meet the needs of marginalised groups.
  • The application of control theory to improve safety in medication prescribing (REVISIT).
  • Ensuring that national guidelines are implemented to enhance patient safety.

A Behavioural Science sub theme aligns to our existing work but also allows the centre to explore this area further in relation to patient safety.

Behavioural Science involves the application of theory and evidence to understand aspects of healthcare and illness including:

  • Making recommendations for improving health service delivery by observing current practice.
  • Designing and testing innovative behaviour change interventions.
  • Evaluating new and existing interventions to examine their effectiveness and acceptability both to patients and healthcare professionals.
  • Ensuring that behaviour change interventions are embedded in practice.

The Behavioural Science sub theme is hosted by the Safer Care Systems and Transitions theme. It is led by Prof Chris Armitage who is a world-renowned research leader in behavioural science, and aims to:

  1. Formalise and draw attention to the behavioural science research that is currently undertaken within the GM PSTRC.
  2. Provide a resource for the main GM PSTRC themes to embed behavioural science within their programmes of research.
  3. Provide a roadmap for future novel behavioural science projects to promote and enhance patient safety. 
  4. Address key patient safety problems that are currently under-researched including psychological safety for staff, and patient safety in intensive care settings.

Subtheme Lead

Key staff