Attributes of clinical recommendations that influence change in practice following audit and feedback

J Clin Epidemiol. 2002 Jul;55(7):717-22. doi: 10.1016/s0895-4356(02)00403-1.


The object of this study was to determine which attributes of clinical practice recommendations influence changes in clinical practice following audit and feedback. This was an observational study using multilevel modeling to examine the relationship between attributes of clinical practice recommendations and compliance with the recommendations before and after audit and feedback. Sixteen hospital gynecology units in Scotland participated in a national audit project. Clinical practice recommendations covering selected gynecological topics were developed and data collected to assess baseline (preintervention) compliance. Summaries of performance were fed back to consultant gynecologists in each hospital and follow-up (postintervention) data were collected. Trained audit assistants used standardized forms to abstract data from case notes. Compliance data were available at baseline and follow-up for a total of 42 clinical practice recommendations. Altogether, 4,664 case notes contributed to baseline data and 4,382 to follow-up data. Thirteen attributes describing clinical practice recommendations were developed, based upon previous work, and pretested. A panel of seven consultant gynecologists rated the extent to which each of the 42 recommendations possessed each of the 13 attributes. The main outcome measures were the association of each attribute with compliance and with changes in clinical practice. Recommendations compatible with clinician values and not requiring changes to fixed routines were independently associated with greater compliance at baseline and follow-up. However, recommendations incompatible with clinician values were independently associated with greater change in practice following audit and feedback. Attributes of recommendations may influence the effectiveness of audit and feedback in secondary care. Recommendations seen as incompatible with clinician values are associated with lower compliance but greater behavioral change following audit and feedback.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Feedback, Psychological
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Gynecology / standards*
  • Humans
  • Information Services / organization & administration*
  • Information Services / supply & distribution
  • Medical Audit*
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / standards
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / standards*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Scotland