A RCT to explore the effectiveness of supporting adherence to nebuliser medication in adults with cystic fibrosis: fidelity assessment of study interventions

on behalf of the CFHealthHub Study Team

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A multi-component self-management intervention ‘CFHealthHub’ was developed to reduce pulmonary exacerbations in adults with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) by supporting adherence to nebuliser medication. It was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) involving 19 CF centres, with 32 interventionists, 305 participants in the intervention group, and 303 participants in the standard care arm. Ensuring treatment fidelity of intervention delivery was crucial to ensure that the intervention produced the expected outcomes.

Fidelity of the CFHealthHub intervention and standard care was assessed using different methods for each of the five fidelity domains defined by the Borrelli framework: study design, training, treatment delivery, receipt, and enactment. Study design ensured that the groups received the intended intervention or standard care. Interventionists underwent training and competency assessments to be deemed certified to deliver the intervention. Audio-recorded intervention sessions were assessed for fidelity drift. Receipt was assessed by identifying whether participants set Action and Coping Plans, while enactment was assessed using click analytics on the CFHealthHub digital platform.

Design: There was reasonable agreement (74%, 226/305) between the expected versus actual intervention dose received by participants in the CFHealthHub intervention group. The standard care group did not include focused adherence support for most centres and participants. Training: All interventionists were trained. Treatment delivery: The trial demonstrated good fidelity (overall fidelity by centre ranged from 79 to 97%), with only one centre falling below the mean threshold (> 80%) on fidelity drift assessments. Receipt: Among participants who completed the 12-month intervention, 77% (205/265) completed at least one action plan, and 60% (160/265) completed at least one coping plan. Enactment: 88% (268/305) of participants used web/app click analytics outside the intervention sessions. The mean (SD) number of web/app click analytics per participant was 31.2 (58.9). Additionally, 64% (195/305) of participants agreed to receive notifications via the mobile application, with an average of 53.6 (14.9) notifications per participant.

The study demonstrates high fidelity throughout the RCT, and the CFHealthHub intervention was delivered as intended. This provides confidence that the results of the RCT are a valid reflection of the effectiveness of the CFHealthHub intervention compared to standard care.

Trial registration
ISRCTN registry: ISRCTN55504164 (date of registration: 12/10/2017).

Original languageEnglish
Article number148
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Early online date21 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2024


  • Adult
  • Coping Skills
  • Cystic Fibrosis - drug therapy
  • Design
  • Enactment
  • Fidelity
  • Humans
  • Receipt
  • Research Design
  • Self-Management
  • Training
  • Treatment fidelity


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