Report: IBTN Panel at iCEPS 2019 Conference

Summary of a qualitative and quantitative methods workshop on optimizing the development of behavioural interventions aimed at addressing behavioural interventions in the context of chronic disease management.


As part of the iCEPS conference, four graduate students from the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre (MBMC) proposed a two-hour interactive workshop that included three didactic presentations intercut with three group activities during which participants were invited to put into practice the concepts discussed. The purpose of the workshop was to address the development and evaluation of behavioural interventions in the context of chronic disease management, by addressing qualitative and quantitative methods by which these particular challenges can be overcome.

Specifically, presenters discussed the ORBIT model (Obesity-Related Behavioural Intervention Trials) for the development of behavioural interventions, as well as the characteristics of “clinically significant” questions, and methods for defining and refining of interventions. The ORBIT model is a multi-phase structure highlighting the importance of conducting preclinical research to determine the relevant components of interventions and to optimize their design. There was discussion on the development (informed by pre-determined behavioural theories) of research hypotheses concerning the mechanisms of action at the center of a behavioural intervention that should be targeted in order to have a real impact on a clinical problem, as well as the definition of the treatment components.

Presenters then addressed the production of systematic reviews, a tool for the distillation and contrast of large amounts of information from existing literature. A literature review allows for the identification, justification and refinement of research hypotheses before the development of interventions. This helps researchers to recognize and avoid the limitations identified by previous work, as well as to understand the components and outcomes of previous interventions in order to determine what needs to be included in the development of future interventions. In this second part of the workshop, presenters discussed the best methods of conducting systematic reviews using established models (e.g. PRISMA) and presented examples of reviews from their research group.
Finally, presenters touched upon the importance of stakeholder engagement in research and the key role they play in improving knowledge transfer and the application of scientific findings to clinical practice. Stakeholders refer to patients, health professionals, administrators, and members of the public. Involving these individuals from the start of the intervention development process allows for the identification of their specific research priorities. This ensures that interventions and measures identified by the researchers are relevant and acceptable to all involved. During the last part of the workshop, the powerful impact of integrating these stakeholders in each phase of intervention development was discussed through a presentation of a sample study carried out by their research team.

The workshop presented by the MBMC group facilitated a short and dynamic discussion on the basics of the early phases of behavioural interventions development, providing for a balanced didactic presentation within an interactive workshop.

Workshop by: Anda Dragomir (Ph.D. Candidate), Vincent G. Boucher (Ph.D. Candidate), Claudia Gemme (Ph.D. Student), and Florent Larue (Medical Resident, and M.Sc. Student)