Surgeon's experiences of receiving peer benchmarked feedback using patient-reported outcome measures: a qualitative study

Implement Sci. 2014 Jun 27;9:84. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-9-84.


Background: The use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) to provide healthcare professionals with peer benchmarked feedback is growing. However, there is little evidence on the opinions of professionals on the value of this information in practice. The purpose of this research is to explore surgeon's experiences of receiving peer benchmarked PROMs feedback and to examine whether this information led to changes in their practice.

Methods: This qualitative research employed a Framework approach. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with surgeons who received peer benchmarked PROMs feedback. The participants included eleven consultant orthopaedic surgeons in the Republic of Ireland.

Results: Five themes were identified: conceptual, methodological, practical, attitudinal, and impact. A typology was developed based on the attitudinal and impact themes from which three distinct groups emerged. 'Advocates' had positive attitudes towards PROMs and confirmed that the information promoted a self-reflective process. 'Converts' were uncertain about the value of PROMs, which reduced their inclination to use the data. 'Sceptics' had negative attitudes towards PROMs and claimed that the information had no impact on their behaviour. The conceptual, methodological and practical factors were linked to the typology.

Conclusion: Surgeons had mixed opinions on the value of peer benchmarked PROMs data. Many appreciated the feedback as it reassured them that their practice was similar to their peers. However, PROMs information alone was considered insufficient to help identify opportunities for quality improvements. The reasons for the observed reluctance of participants to embrace PROMs can be categorised into conceptual, methodological, and practical factors. Policy makers and researchers need to increase professionals' awareness of the numerous purposes and benefits of using PROMs, challenge the current methods to measure performance using PROMs, and reduce the burden of data collection and information dissemination on routine practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking / methods*
  • Feedback
  • General Surgery / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Peer Group
  • Qualitative Research