OBJECTIVES: Low tidal volume (TVe) ventilation improves outcomes for ventilated patients, and the majority of clinicians state they implement it. Unfortunately, most patients never receive low TVes. 'Nudges' influence decision-making with subtle cognitive mechanisms and are effective in many contexts. There have been few studies examining their impact on clinical decision-making. We investigated the impact of 2 interventions designed using principles from behavioural science on the deployment of low TVe ventilation in the intensive care unit (ICU). SETTING: University Hospitals Bristol, a tertiary, mixed medical and surgical ICU with 20 beds, admitting over 1300 patients per year. PARTICIPANTS: Data were collected from 2144 consecutive patients receiving controlled mechanical ventilation for more than 1 hour between October 2010 and September 2014. Patients on controlled mechanical ventilation for more than 20 hours were included in the final analysis. INTERVENTIONS: (1) Default ventilator settings were adjusted to comply with low TVe targets from the initiation of ventilation unless actively changed by a clinician. (2) A large dashboard was deployed displaying TVes in the format mL/kg ideal body weight (IBW) with alerts when TVes were excessive. PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURE: TVe in mL/kg IBW. FINDINGS: TVe was significantly lower in the defaults group. In the dashboard intervention, TVe fell more quickly and by a greater amount after a TVe of 8 mL/kg IBW was breached when compared with controls. This effect improved in each subsequent year for 3 years. CONCLUSIONS: This study has demonstrated that adjustment of default ventilator settings and a dashboard with alerts for excessive TVe can significantly influence clinical decision-making. This offers a promising strategy to improve compliance with low TVe ventilation, and suggests that using insights from behavioural science has potential to improve the translation of evidence into practice.
behavioural science, decision-making, low tidal volume ventilation, nudge, Adult, Aged, Clinical Alarms, Clinical Decision-Making, Decision Support Techniques, Female, Guideline Adherence, Humans, Ideal Body Weight, Intensive Care Units, Male, Middle Aged, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Prospective Studies, Respiration, Artificial, Tidal Volume, User-Computer Interface