What is Audit & Feedback?

Audit & Feedback (A&F) is any summary of clinical performance of healthcare provided over a specified period of time.

This summary may be given in a written, electronic or verbal format ( Jamtvedt et al. 2006 ) and may include recommendations for clinical action ( Ivers et al. 2014 ).

The summary data may have been obtained from medical records, computerized databases, or observations from patients.

How does Audit & Feedback work?

A&F provides objective data regarding discrepancies between current clinical practices and target performance, as well as comparisons of performance to other health professionals (Ivers et al. 2014).

It is thought that demonstrating this gap between actual and desired performance can act as a cue for action and will motivate clinicians or healthcare systems to change their behaviour and address the gap (Ivers et al. 2014; Foy & Eccles 2013).

  • This explanation however does not address what the specific mechanisms of action are!

The effectiveness of A&F may be influenced by:

  • the characteristics of the targeted behavior
  • the recipients
  • their context
  • the components of the A&F intervention itself (Ivers et al. 2014)

The most recent update of the Cochrane Systematic Review (Ivers et al. 2012):

  • Included 140 randomized trials of A&F conducted across many clinical conditions and settings around the world
  • Found that A&F leads to a median 4% absolute improvement (IQR 0.5% to 16%) in provider compliance with desired practice
  • However, the review could not provide answers on mechanisms of action

Audit & Feedback Laboratories can help work towards these missing answers!