BACKGROUND: Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for chronic disease. Brief physical activity counselling delivered within healthcare systems has been shown to increase physical activity levels; however, implementation efforts have mostly targeted primary healthcare and uptake has been sub-optimal. The Brief Physical Activity Counselling by Physiotherapists (BEHAVIOUR) trial aims to address this evidence-practice gap by evaluating (i) the effectiveness of a multi-faceted implementation strategy, relative to usual practice for improving the proportion of patients receiving brief physical activity counselling as part of their routine hospital-based physiotherapy care and (ii) effectiveness of brief physical activity counselling embedded in routine physiotherapy care, relative to routine physiotherapy care, at improving physical activity levels among patients receiving physiotherapy care.
METHODS: Effectiveness-implementation hybrid type II cluster randomised controlled trial with embedded economic evaluation, qualitative study and culturally adapted patient-level outcome measures. The trial will be conducted across five hospitals in a local health district in Sydney, Australia, with a lower socioeconomic and culturally diverse population. The evidence-based intervention is brief physical activity counselling informed by the 5As counselling model and behavioural theory, embedded into routine physiotherapy care. The multi-faceted strategy to support the implementation of the counselling intervention was developed with key stakeholders guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and the Capabilities, Opportunities, Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B) theoretical model, and consists of clinician education and training, creating a learning collaborative, tailored strategies to address community referral barriers, team facilitation, and audit and feedback. Thirty teams of physiotherapists will be randomised to receive the multi-faceted implementation strategy immediately or after a 9-month delay. Each physiotherapy team will recruit an average of 10 patients (n=300) to collect effectiveness outcomes at baseline and 6 months. The primary effectiveness outcome is self-reported planned physical activity using the Incidental and Planned Exercise Questionnaire, and the primary implementation outcome is reach (proportion of eligible new physiotherapy patients who receive brief physical activity counselling). Secondary effectiveness and implementation outcomes will also be collected.
DISCUSSION: This project focuses on physiotherapists as health professionals with the requisite skills and patterns of practice to tackle the increasing burden of chronic disease in a high-risk population.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ANZCTR, ACTRN12621000194864 . Registered on 23 February 2021.