Audit and feedback: effects on professional practice and healthcare outcomes

Department of Family Medicine, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, Canada. 2Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services,Oslo, .
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 5.94). 01/2012; 6(6):CD000259. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000259.pub3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Audit and feedback is widely used as a strategy to improve professional practice either on its own or as a component of multifaceted quality improvement interventions. This is based on the belief that healthcare professionals are prompted to modify their practice when given performance feedback showing that their clinical practice is inconsistent with a desirable target. Despite its prevalence as a quality improvement strategy, there remains uncertainty regarding both the effectiveness of audit and feedback in improving healthcare practice and the characteristics of audit and feedback that lead to greater impact.
To assess the effects of audit and feedback on the practice of healthcare professionals and patient outcomes and to examine factors that may explain variation in the effectiveness of audit and feedback.
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) 2010, Issue 4, part of The Cochrane Library., including the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Group Specialised Register (searched 10 December 2010); MEDLINE, Ovid (1950 to November Week 3 2010) (searched 09 December 2010); EMBASE, Ovid (1980 to 2010 Week 48) (searched 09 December 2010); CINAHL, Ebsco (1981 to present) (searched 10 December 2010); Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index, ISI Web of Science (1975 to present) (searched 12-15 September 2011).
Randomised trials of audit and feedback (defined as a summary of clinical performance over a specified period of time) that reported objectively measured health professional practice or patient outcomes. In the case of multifaceted interventions, only trials in which audit and feedback was considered the core, essential aspect of at least one intervention arm were included.
All data were abstracted by two independent review authors. For the primary outcome(s) in each study, we calculated the median absolute risk difference (RD) (adjusted for baseline performance) of compliance with desired practice compliance for dichotomous outcomes and the median percent change relative to the control group for continuous outcomes. Across studies the median effect size was weighted by number of health professionals involved in each study. We investigated the following factors as possible explanations for the variation in the effectiveness of interventions across comparisons: format of feedback, source of feedback, frequency of feedback, instructions for improvement, direction of change required, baseline performance, profession of recipient, and risk of bias within the trial itself. We also conducted exploratory analyses to assess the role of context and the targeted clinical behaviour. Quantitative (meta-regression), visual, and qualitative analyses were undertaken to examine variation in effect size related to these factors.
We included and analysed 140 studies for this review. In the main analyses, a total of 108 comparisons from 70 studies compared any intervention in which audit and feedback was a core, essential component to usual care and evaluated effects on professional practice. After excluding studies at high risk of bias, there were 82 comparisons from 49 studies featuring dichotomous outcomes, and the weighted median adjusted RD was a 4.3% (interquartile range (IQR) 0.5% to 16%) absolute increase in healthcare professionals' compliance with desired practice. Across 26 comparisons from 21 studies with continuous outcomes, the weighted median adjusted percent change relative to control was 1.3% (IQR = 1.3% to 28.9%). For patient outcomes, the weighted median RD was -0.4% (IQR -1.3% to 1.6%) for 12 comparisons from six studies reporting dichotomous outcomes and the weighted median percentage change was 17% (IQR 1.5% to 17%) for eight comparisons from five studies reporting continuous outcomes. Multivariable meta-regression indicated that feedback may be more effective when baseline performance is low, the source is a supervisor or colleague, it is provided more than once, it is delivered in both verbal and written formats, and when it includes both explicit targets and an action plan. In addition, the effect size varied based on the clinical behaviour targeted by the intervention.
Audit and feedback generally leads to small but potentially important improvements in professional practice. The effectiveness of audit and feedback seems to depend on baseline performance and how the feedback is provided. Future studies of audit and feedback should directly compare different ways of providing feedback.

1 Follower
  • Source
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clinical Practice guidelines (CPGs) have emerged as a potentially effective intervention in delivering a high quality, consistent, safe and evidence-based health care. CPGs can either be developed by de novo synthesis or by adaptation of existing guidelines formed in another organization. Guideline recommendations are formulated based on strength of the evidence, validity, clinical relevance and patient values. Support of the organization leadership, role modeling of senior staff and involvement of stakeholders is a key to the success of implementation of guidelines. This article aims to enhance a practicing pediatrician's understanding of how guidelines are developed, disseminated, and potentially utilized.
    Iranian Journal of Pediatrics 10/2014; 24(5):557-64. · 0.34 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada modified its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) framework in 2011 to further incentivize assessment activities compared to group and self-learning. The purpose of this study was to explore physician's perceptions of their access to assessment activities, barriers to participation in assessment, and the need for the Royal College to further support its fellows in gaining access to assessment activities. A questionnaire-based survey was sent to all participants of the MOC program as part of a program evaluation examining recent changes to the MOC program. 5259 respondents contributed responses. Most physicians were comfortable with the revised framework for assessment while approximately 40% were neutral regarding whether lack of access to self-assessment activities was a problem. Respondents expressed a need for more self-assessment programs particularly those developed outside of Canada. Neither a lack of feedback about performance or discomfort with recording performance gaps was perceived as a barrier to participation in assessment activities. Physician comments were consistent with the quantitative data and elaborated on the need to develop and recognize more assessment activities. Physicians accepted the revised MOC program framework but perceived difficulty in accessing assessment programs, activities, and tools. As the framework changed again January 2014, requiring all fellows and MOC program participants to completion of at least 25 credits in each section of the MOC program (including assessment) during their new 5-year MOC cycle, additional resources will be needed to support opportunities for physicians to engage in assessment. © 2015 The Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions, the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education, and the Council on Continuing Medical Education, Association for Hospital Medical Education.
    Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions 01/2015; 35(1). DOI:10.1002/chp.21265 · 1.32 Impact Factor


Available from
Jan 6, 2015