Opinion leaders vs audit and feedback to implement practice guidelines. Delivery after previous cesarean section

JAMA. 1991 May 1;265(17):2202-7.


A randomized controlled trial with 76 physicians in 16 community hospitals evaluated audit and feedback and local opinion leader education as methods of encouraging compliance with a guideline for the management of women with a previous cesarean section. The guideline recommended clinical actions to increase trial of labor and vaginal birth rates. Charts for all 3552 cases in the study groups were audited. After 24 months the trial of labor and vaginal birth rates in the audit and feedback group were no different from those in the control group, but rates were 46% and 85% higher, respectively, among physicians educated by an opinion leader. Duration of hospital stay was lower in the opinion leader education group than in the other two groups. The overall cesarean section rate was reduced only in the opinion leader education group. There were no adverse clinical outcomes attributable to the interventions. The use of opinion leaders improved the quality of care.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Feedback*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Medical Audit*
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / standards*
  • Ontario
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician's Role
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Pregnancy
  • Trial of Labor