Background Audit and feedback (A&F) is a frequently used intervention aiming to support implementation of research evidence into clinical practice with positive, yet variable, effects. Our understanding of effective A&F has been limited by poor reporting and intervention heterogeneity. Our objective was to describe the extent of these issues.
Methods Using a secondary review of A&F interventions and a consensus-based process to identify modifiable A&F elements, we examined intervention descriptions in 140 trials of A&F to quantify reporting limitations and describe the interventions.
Results We identified 17 modifiable A&F intervention elements; 14 were examined to quantify reporting limitations and all 17 were used to describe the interventions. Clear reporting of the elements ranged from 56% to 97% with a median of 89%. There was considerable variation in A&F interventions with 51% for individual providers only, 92% targeting behaviour change and 79% targeting processes of care, 64% performed by the provider group and 81% reporting aggregate patient data.
Conclusions Our process identified 17 A&F design elements, demonstrated gaps in reporting and helped understand the degree of variation in A&F interventions.
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Contributors All authors contributed to the conception and design of the study. HC, KC, MC and JB contributed to the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data. HC, KC and JB drafted the manuscript. All author's contributed edits to, read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Funding Canadian Institutes of Health Research (KTE 111-413).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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