To conduct a quasi-experimental evaluation of the feedback initiative and its effect on quality of anaesthetic care and perioperative efficiency. To understand the longitudinal effects of passive and active feedback and investigate the mechanisms and interactions underpinning those effects.
Mixed-methods evaluation with analysis and synthesis of data from longitudinal qualitative interviews, longitudinal evaluative surveys and an interrupted time series study.
Continuous measurement of a range of anaesthetic quality indicators was undertaken in a London teaching hospital alongside monthly personal feedback from case summary data to a cohort of anaesthetists, with follow-up roll-out to the whole NHS trust. Basic feedback consisted of the provision of passive monthly personalised feedback reports containing summary case data. In the enhanced phase, data feedback consisted of more sophisticated statistical breakdown of data, comparative and longitudinal views, and was paired with an active programme of dissemination and professional engagement.
Baseline data collection began in March 2010. Implementation of basic feedback took place in October 2010, followed by implementation of the enhanced feedback protocol in July 2012. Weekly aggregated quality indicator data, coupled with surgical site infection and mortality rates, was modelled using interrupted time series analyses. The study anaesthetist cohort comprised 50,235 cases, performed by 44 anaesthetists over the course of the study, with 22,670 cases performed at the primary site. Anaesthetist responses to the surveys were collected pre and post implementation of feedback at all three sites in parallel with qualitative investigation. Seventy anaesthetists completed the survey at one or more time points and 35 health-care professionals, including 24 anaesthetists, were interviewed across two time points.
Results from the time series analysis of longitudinal variation in perioperative indicators did not support the hypothesis that implementation of basic feedback improved quality of anaesthetic care. The implementation of enhanced feedback was found to have a significant positive impact on two postoperative pain measures, nurse-recorded freedom from nausea, mean patient temperature on arrival in recovery and Quality of Recovery Scale scores. Analysis of survey data demonstrated that anaesthetists value perceived credibility of data and local relevance of quality indicators above other criteria when assessing utility of feedback.
A significant improvement in the perceived value of quality indicators, feedback, data use and overall effectiveness was observed between baseline and implementation of feedback at the primary site, a finding replicated at the two secondary sites. Findings from the qualitative research elucidated processes of interaction between context, intervention and user, demonstrating a positive response by clinicians to this type of initiative and willingness to interact with a sustained and comprehensive feedback protocol to understand variations in care.
The results support the potential of quality monitoring and feedback interventions as quality improvement mechanisms and provide insight into the positive response of clinicians to this type of initiative, including documentation of the experiences of anaesthetists that participated as users and codesigners of the feedback. Future work in this area might usefully investigate how this type of intervention may be transferred to other areas of clinical practice and further explore interactions between local context and the successful implementation of quality monitoring and feedback systems.