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Behaviour change: Five things you probably suspected, but weren’t sure about…

Fabrice Allum, managing director of Porterhouse Insights, looks at behaviour change and introduces the Porterhouse BPS.

1. We all learn differently.
Yup, we know you know this, but it is reassuring to know that there is a significant body of research and literature addressing the range of stimuli that support effective teaching and learning. At the Porterhouse Medical Group, we particularly like the behaviouralism/cognitivism/constructivism model, which we incorporate whenever possible into our solutions.

: “I want to acquire knowledge and be rewarded for doing so”
Cognitivism: “I want to learn rules and learn how to apply them”
Constructivism: “I want to solve problems and take responsibility for my own learning”

2. Context is everything.
Again, not earth-shattering insight, but important nonetheless. Think back to the last five times you went out to eat; you probably went to different types of restaurant, depending on whether it was for lunch or dinner, whether you were alone or with company, or whether it was a special occasion or not. During each of these different occasions, the context drove your decision-making process – your budget for a lunch-time meal would have been different to your budget for an evening meal with your partner and so on. In the same vein, the effectiveness of communication and educational programmes is context specific – one size doesn’t fit all.

3. Triggering behaviour change is complex.
You don’t say! Academic investigation and experimentation have supported the refinement of models of behaviour change, the most notable of which is the COM-B model, which posits that behaviour occurs as an interaction between three necessary conditions: capability, opportunity and motivation. The Theoretical Domains Framework provides a pragmatic adaptation of these models to enable us to understand and intervene in human behaviour in relation to disease and associated modalities.

4. If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
With apologies to Peter Drucker for rephrasing. Many of the channels used to communicate to healthcare professionals and, indeed, the type of content generated for these channels are the result of habit. It’s the usual way of doing things. “We’ve always been to this conference,” but unless you measure the impact of a given educational intervention, how do you know if it still achieves the original objectives? Or, indeed, the return on investment (ROI)? Does behaviour change need to start closer to home?

5. Porterhouse is going metrics.
And now we get to the key point of this paper. Based on a thorough evaluation of the field and the involvement of experienced practitioners, Porterhouse Insights has developed a behaviour change metric – the Porterhouse Behaviour Promoter Score (BPS). The Porterhouse BPS is an evidence‑based tool designed to measure the impact of educational interventions and/or communication programmes. Data from participants is captured in an accessible, yet granular format, and the outputs highlight any changes in the key behaviour domains of capability, opportunity and motivation.

For more information on the Porterhouse BPS or any of the points raised above, please contact: We’d love to hear from you!  

Ertmer PA and Newby TJ. Perform Improv Quarterly 2013; 26 (2).
Behaviourism in the classroom. Available at: Accessed September 2018.Constructivism and social constructivism in the classroom. Available at: Accessed September 2018.
Michie S et al. Implement Sci 2011; 6: 42.]    

1st October 2018



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