Effectiveness, feasibility, and acceptability of behaviour change tools used by family doctors: a global systematic review

Lauren Ball, Bryce Brickley, Lauren T. Williams, Jenny Advocat, Elizabeth Rieger, Raeann Ng, Nilakshi Gunatillaka, Alex Clark, Elizabeth Ann Sturgiss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Background: Priority patients include people from low-income, rural or, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and First Nations people.

Aim: This systematic review describes the effectiveness, feasibility, and acceptability of behavior change tools that have been tested by family doctors working with priority patients.

Design: Systematic Review

Methods: Five databases were searched for studies published from 2000-2021, of any design, that tested the effectiveness or feasibility of tangible, publicly available behavior change tools used by family doctors working with priority patients. The methodological quality of each study was appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool.

Results: Thirteen of 4931 studies screened met the eligibility criteria, describing 12 tools. The health-related behaviors targeted included smoking, diet and/or physical activity, alcohol and/or drug use and suicidal ideation. Six tools had an online/web/app-based focused, and the remaining six tools utilised only printed materials and/or in-person training. The effectiveness of the tools was assessed in 11 studies using diverse methods, with promising results for enabling behavior change. The nine studies that assessed feasibility found that the tools were easy to use and enhanced the perceived quality of care.

Conclusion: Many of the identified behavior change tools were demonstrated to be effective at facilitating change in a target behavior and/or feasible for use in practice. The tools varied across factors such as the mode of delivery and the way the tool was intended to influence behavior. There is clear opportunity to build upon existing tools to enable family doctors to assist priority patients towards healthier lifestyles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e451-e459
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number731
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Family physicians
  • lifestyle behaviors
  • primary care
  • quality
  • lifestyle behaviours
  • general practice
  • health behaviour
  • physicians, family


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