Health Services Research & Development

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Grimshaw JM, Ivers N, Linklater S, Foy R, Francis JJ, Gude WT, Hysong SJ, Audit and Feedback MetaLab. Reinvigorating stagnant science: implementation laboratories and a meta-laboratory to efficiently advance the science of audit and feedback. BMJ quality & safety. 2019 May 1; 28(5):416-423.
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Abstract: Audit and feedback (A&F) is a commonly used quality improvement (QI) approach. A Cochrane review indicates that A&F is generally effective and leads to modest improvements in professional practice but with considerable variation in the observed effects. While we have some understanding of factors that enhance the effects of A&F, further research needs to explore when A&F is most likely to be effective and how to optimise it. To do this, we need to move away from two-arm trials of A&F compared with control in favour of head-to-head trials of different ways of providing A&F. This paper describes implementation laboratories involving collaborations between healthcare organisations providing A&F at scale, and researchers, to embed head-to-head trials into routine QI programmes. This can improve effectiveness while producing generalisable knowledge about how to optimise A&F. We also describe an international meta-laboratory that aims to maximise cross-laboratory learning and facilitate coordination of A&F research.