Optimization of Practice Feedback Interventions

A recent report recommends 15 specific actions to improve the effectiveness of feedback interventions in clinical practice.

HealthDay News — In guidelines published  in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 15 suggestions were proposed to optimize the effectiveness of feedback interventions for practice improvement.

Jamie C. Brehaut, PhD, from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada, and colleagues conducted expert interviews, systematic reviews, and used experience with providing, evaluating, and receiving practice feedback to develop 15 suggestions that are associated with effective feedback interventions.

The authors note their suggestions relate to the nature of the desired action, the nature of the data available for feedback, the feedback display, and delivery of the feedback intervention. 

Feedback designers should:

  • Recommend actions consistent with established goals and priorities
  • Recommend actions that can improve and are under the recipients’ control
  • Focus on specific actions.
  • Provide multiple instances of feedback
  • Provide feedback as soon as possible
  • Provide individual data supporting each measure
  • Choose appropriate comparators that reinforce behavior change
  • Closely link the visual display and summary message
  • Provided feedback in more than one way
  • Minimize extraneous cognitive load for recipients

In addition, feedback designers should:

  • Address barriers to use of feedback
  • Provide short actionable messages
  • Address credibility of information
  • Prevent defensive reactions
  • Construct feedback through social interaction

“Designing interventions with these suggestions in mind should improve their effect, and studying the mechanisms underlying these suggestions will advance a stagnant literature,” the authors wrote.


Brehaut JC, Colquhoun HL, Eva KW, et al. Practice Feedback Interventions: 15 Suggestions for Optimizing EffectivenessAnn Intern Med. 2016; doi:10.7326/M15-2248.