Exploring primary health care professionals' perceptions about a patient feedback intervention to improve patient safety in Spanish primary health care centres: a qualitative study

Fam Pract. 2020 Nov 28;37(6):821-827. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmaa051.


Background: Patient feedback interventions are receiving increasing attention given their potential to improve health care provision. However, primary health care (PHC) professionals' acceptability and perceived utility of this type of interventions remain largely unexplored.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore PHC professionals' perceptions, opinions and suggestions about a patient feedback intervention currently being designed to improve patient safety in Spanish PHC centres.

Methods: We conducted an exploratory qualitative study with 43 PHC professionals. Information was obtained from three semi-structured interviews and four focus groups. All data were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed using content analysis by three analysts.

Results: The patient feedback intervention was acceptable to health care professionals, who perceived it as a useful strategy to improve health care processes and activate patients. A number of factors potentially limiting the acceptability and perceived utility of the intervention were identified (low patient safety culture, low patient-centred care orientation and limited credibility of patient feedback data). Recommendations for designing and implementing the proposed intervention in the Spanish PHC centres were identified in relation to the following areas: 'collection and analysis of feedback data'; 'feedback display'; 'feedback delivery' and; 'implementation of safety improvement initiatives'.

Conclusions: Although the proposed intervention was generally perceived as useful and acceptable, our study identified a number of tensions about the practical aspects of using the patient-reported data and the credibility of the data and what actions would arise from its use. The intervention has been adapted to address these tensions before its formal evaluation in a randomized clinical trial.

Keywords: Family health; medical errors/patient safety; practice management; primary care; qualitative research/study; quality of care.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Feedback
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Patient Safety*
  • Perception
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Qualitative Research