insightsOur team focuses on behavioural interventions that can significantly reduce patient safety incidents. We work with our team and collaborators, such as the Behavioural Insights Team, Public Health England and the Department of Health.


Translational examples

Did not attend Rates

We have achieved significant reductions in “did not attend” (DNA) rates by re-wording text message reminders to include information about the cost of a missed appointment. It was estimated that moving from the existing reminder to the more effective costs message would result in 5,800 fewer missed appointments per year in the National Health Service Trust it was tested in, at no additional cost. This work was covered by the BBC and Telegraph and led to a discussion on BBC Question Time. The Department of Health has subsequently published guidance on how to diffuse this work.

Hand Hygiene Compliance

We have significantly improved hand hygiene compliance (from 15.0% to 46.9%) through the use of olfactory primes – the use of a clean, citrus smell enhanced hand-washing, which is the most important step in reducing the burden of hospital acquired infections. A Health Foundation grant has been awarded to undertake a multi-site study of the same intervention across a number of NHS Trusts.

Reducing Prescribing Errors

We have shown a significant reduction in prescribing errors using ‘choice architecture’ informed hospital drugs chart compared to the standard drug chart, importantly reducing dosage errors and increasing legible documentation of indication and duration of antimicrobial agents prescribed.  The insights from this study have been applied to the design of a number of charts across the NHS.

Antibiotic prescriptions

We have successfully reduced antibiotic prescribing bantibioticsy GPs through intervention letters that inform GPs if their practice is overprescribing compared to others. This resulted in a 4.3% reduction in prescribing, representing approximately 73,000 fewer dispensed antimicrobial items over the six-month trial period.

Uptake of Cervical Screening

Early results from our work in cancer screening have shown an increase of up to 5% in the uptake of cervical screening through the use of text message reminders. Early diagnosis is key to receiving timely and appropriate care when the risk of morbidity and mortality can be reduced.