Heart, Lung and Circulation

Structured Feedback: Acceptability and Feasibility of a Strategy to Enhance the Role of a Clinical Quality Registry to Drive Change in Cardiac Surgical Practice


      The Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) Database collects and monitors preoperative, operative, and 30-day outcome data on patients undergoing cardiac surgery, and delivers regular performance feedback reports to key personnel with intent to drive quality improvement. The current feedback approach appears to be ineffective in driving change to minimise Unit performance variation. We sought to determine the acceptability and feasibility of providing structured feedback in addition.


      Cardiac surgeons were surveyed to assess their evaluation of the current feedback reports and assist in developing the content of structured feedback. We then assessed acceptability and performance outcomes of control Units receiving current feedback reports via email, versus intervention Units that in addition received structured feedback.


      Survey respondents assessing the current feedback report agreed that the content is relevant (95%), key performance indicators (KPIs) are useful (85%), and that it would be beneficial to compare surgeons’ KPIs (75%). Survey respondents rating method of feedback, requested structured feedback sessions one to two times annually (67%; control Units), and future structured feedback (83%; intervention Units). With combined report and structured feedback, improved performance was noted for an under-performing Unit. Limitations of feedback in driving quality improvement was high performance of Units at baseline, low surgeon participation, and scheduling challenges for structured feedback.


      In this pilot study, compared to the control method, structured feedback did not significantly improve communication. To maximise quality improvement efforts, a collaborative feedback approach that fosters a climate of continuous performance improvement, is recommended.


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