Changing pharmacists’ behaviour in practice
March 2018 – April 2018
Bridgeable’s designing for behaviour change toolkit, personas, literature review
Pharmacy 5in5 and the Ontario College of Pharmacists
UX Researcher (me!), Designer, Waterloo pharmacy professor, 3 members from the Ontario College of Pharmacists
About the Ontario College of Pharmacists
The Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) is responsible for “regulating pharmacies and pharmacy professionals in the province of Ontario.”
The OCP teamed up with Kelly Grindrod, a University of Waterloo pharmacy professor, to support the creation of a new e-learning platform for practicing pharmacists called Pharmacy 5in5. Kelly founded the platform and brought me onto the team to improve the product experience.
I planned a behavioural economics workshop with the Ontario College of Pharmacists and the Pharmacy 5in5 team to help them explore opportunities to change pharmacists’ behaviour in practice. This included gathering research documents and artifacts to guide discussion, preparing the presentation deck, and facilitating the workshop.
About Pharmacy 5in5
Currently, many different online and in-person offerings assist pharmacists with continuing education; however, few offerings help pharmacists understand the newest updates to pharmacy practice with a focus on implementing both skills and knowledge.
An e-learning platform for pharmacists called Pharmacy 5in5 was created to address this observed gap between learning and practice. It provides users with short quizzes and feedback to improve their knowledge and help them realize when they may not be implementing their learnings.
Why Bridgeable’s Designing for Behaviour Change Framework?
I stumbled across the behaviour change framework while attending a workshop by Bridgeable’s VP and Practice Lead, Everton Lewis, at BLND conference in Stratford, Ontario. I was immediately drawn to the framework because it was simple, and accessible. Some of the behaviour change frameworks that currently exist in the healthcare space are complicated and highly theoretical, making them difficult to implement in practice.
During my undergrad at the University of Waterloo, I worked on the Pharmacy 5in5 platform for my final thesis project. My primary focus was to identify and address design issues in the first iterations of the platform. You can read more about that project here. While working on my thesis, my thesis advisor and the platform founder, Kelly Grindrod, communicated a critical goal for Pharmacy 5in5: to get pharmacists to implement what they learn online in practice.
I learned from Everton’s workshop that intervening at key moments in decision making is essential for changing behaviour. An e-learning platform, while effective at teaching critical pharmacy concepts, won’t necessarily be effective at changing their behaviour in practice. This is because the platform was not being used in the workplace and they’re likely to forget what they’ve learned in the moment.
It became clear to me that in order for me to meet Kelly’s goal of getting pharmacists to implement their learnings in practice, I needed to look beyond the e-learning platform and leverage the Behaviour Change Toolkit.
The Behavioural Change Framework is made up of two parts: Part A Ideation Phase and Part B Testing Phase. For this workshop I focused on Part A to make the workshop content more digestible.
The presentation I prepared for the workshop, which outlines my process in detail, can be found here.
Identify pharmacist behaviours that need to be changed to ensure more practitioners are following basic rules and regulations of pharmacy practice
Identify underlying behavioural economics principles at play
Uncover key decision making moments
Align on a single behavioural change problem to solve
*Behavioural Economics principles explain how people majority of people will behave under certain circumstances. They are used to understand behaviour or change behaviour. Some cards from the toolkit are shown below.
The primary outcomes of the workshop were:
Uncovered expectations around the purpose of Pharmacy5in5. I also identified that OCP’s expectations for the platform were not aligned with the Pharmacy5in5 team’s expectations.
The OCP initially felt that the platform’s purpose was to teach and reinforce basic pharmacy concepts.
Pharmacy5in5 team felt that the platform’s purpose was to teach expanding scope of practice concepts.
Alignment around the behavioural change problem of “how might we help pharmacists break the cycle of seeing prescriptions and patients as technical transactions?”
Identified behavioural economic principles that are currently affecting pharmacists’ behaviour
Distilling more than 200+ hours of research into a 2 hour workshop
Building rapport with workshop participants. This workshop was the first time I ever met with the OCP team.
Keeping workshop discussion time focused and on track. There were a few moments during the workshop where it became difficult for me to get people’s attention. This is something I’d like to work on in the future.
The next time I run a workshop I will send supporting documents to participants beforehand so that I can spend more time focusing on workshop activities and less time catching people up to speed on my thesis work. Providing early access to documents also helps clarify what the participants can expect to happen during the workshop.
I had a great time facilitating the first half of the Behavioural Economics workshop, but only half of my work is done. I’d like to do the second half of the workshop with the team so that we can understand the problem through contextual research and come up with solutions to the problem statement: “How might we help pharmacists break the cycle of seeing prescriptions and patients as technical transactions?”