Integrating behaviour change interventions and patient decision aids

How to accomplish synergistic effects?


People make numerous health-related choices each day: For example, deciding to brush one’s teeth or to eat well and healthy – or not to do these activities. To support complex decisions and subsequent behaviour change, both Behaviour Change Interventions (BCIs) and Patient Decision Aids (PtDAs) have been developed and evolved independently to support people in health-related decision making. In this paper, we critically review BCIs and PtDAs, examine their similarities and differences, and identify potential for integration of expertise to increase the benefits for people engaging with healthcare and health behaviours. The two approaches appear to mainly differ in terms of their (1) goals and foci, (2) theoretical basis, (3) development frameworks, (4) active ingredients and (5) effect evaluation. To facilitate the integration of scientific insights from these two fields, we recommend to (1) bring both fields together and promote interprofessional discussions, (2) train (health) professionals to recognise strengths of both approaches, (3) investigate the synergy of the two fields, (4) be prepared for and try to mitigate a culture shock when the fields start to interact. Knowledge generated by researching PtDAs could be used to facilitate decisional processes that enable patients to choose goals that are in line with their values and preferences, while insights from researching BCIs could be used to facilitate engagement with, and implementation of those goals. This integration could allow researchers and intervention providers to increase the benefits for people engaging with healthcare and health behaviours.

Patient Education and Counseling
Thomas Gültzow
Thomas Gültzow
Assistant Professor Societal Transition & Behaviour Change

I am a passionate researcher in the field of behaviour and decision making, specialising in informed decision making, behaviour change, and the influence of digital communication and interventions.