Using a Delphi Technique to Define a Feedback Culture in Graduate Medical Education

Fam Med. 2021 Jun;53(6):433-442. doi: 10.22454/FamMed.2021.600416.


Background and objectives: Experts in medical education hypothesize that programs with a robust culture of feedback foster learning and growth for learners and educators, yet the literature shows no consensus for what defines a feedback culture in graduate medical education.

Methods: Using a two-round, modified Delphi technique in summer and fall of 2019, the authors asked a panel of experts to identify essential elements to a feedback culture. The research team compiled a list of experts and a list of 29 descriptors of a highly functioning feedback culture. Experts rated the items as an essential, compatible, or not important aspect of a highly functioning culture of feedback. Researchers set a minimum threshold of 80% agreement and used comments from panelists to revise elements that did not meet agreement during round one. Experts then rerated the elements using information on their initial ratings, aggregate panelist ratings, and comments from all panelists.

Results: The response rates from our panel of experts were 68% (17/25) for round one and 88% (15/17) for round two. Seventeen elements were rated as essential to a feedback culture.

Conclusions: An expert panel endorsed essential elements that can be used to assess feedback culture in graduate medical education programs.