Using the behavior change wheel to link published deprescribing strategies to identified local primary healthcare needs Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Polypharmacy is a major global problem. Evidence in primary care shows deprescribing can be beneficial. Behaviour change theories such as the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) and the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) can help develop successful implementation of deprescribing initiatives. OBJECTIVES: To link locally identified deprescribing influencers with components of successfully trialed deprescribing strategies, with the aim of informing the development of local deprescribing initiatives. METHODS: Two background studies were completed. A qualitative study of interviews and focus groups identified influencers of deprescribing from local primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists. Transcripts were coded using the TDF and mapped to the Intervention Functions of the BCW. A scoping review identified studies that investigated primary care deprescribing strategies, which were mapped to the BCW Intervention Functions and the Behaviour Change Techniques (BCTs). For this analysis, six main TDF domains from the qualitative study were linked to the BCTs identified in the scoping review through the Intervention Functions of the BCW. RESULTS: Within the BCW component Capability, one TDF domain identified in the qualitative study, Memory, Attention and Decision Process, was linked to strategies like academic detailing from the scoping review. For the Opportunity component, two TDF domains, Social Influences and Environmental Context and Resources, were linked to strategies such as pharmacist medication reviews, providing patient information leaflets, and evidence-based deprescribing tools. For the Motivation component, three TDF domains, Social/Professional Role and Identity, Intentions, and Beliefs about Consequences, were linked to strategies such as sending deprescribing information to prescribers, using tools to identify eligible patients, and having patients report adverse events of medications. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis identified deprescribing strategies that can be used to address influencers related to behaviour change from the perspective of primary care providers, and to assist with future deprescribing initiative development and implementation in the local context.


  • Bai, Isaac
  • Isenor, Jennifer E
  • Reeve, Emily
  • Whelan, Anne Marie
  • Martin-Misener, Ruth
  • Burgess, Sarah
  • Kennie-Kaulbach, Natalie

publication date

  • August 2022