Audit and feedback in mental healthcare: staff experiences
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance. 2018, 31 (7), 822-833. 10.1108/IJHCQA-08-2017-0142
Purpose Audit and feedback (A&F) often underlie implementation projects, described as a circular process; i.e. an A&F cycle. They are widely used, but effect varies with no apparent explanation. We need to understand how A&F work in real-life situations. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to describe and explore mental healthcare full A&F cycle experiences. Design/methodology/approach This is a naturalistic qualitative study that uses four focus groups and qualitative content analysis. Findings Staff accepted the initial A&F stages, perceiving it to enhance awareness and reassure them about good practice. They were willing to participate in the full cycle and implement changes, but experienced poor follow-up and prioritization, not giving them a chance to own to the process. An important finding is the need for an A&F cycle facilitator. Practical implications Research teams cannot be expected to be involved in implementing clinical care. Guidelines will keep being produced to improve service quality and will be expected to be practiced. This study gives insights into planning and tailoring A&F cycles. Originality/value Tools to ease implementation are not enough, and the key seems to lie with facilitating a process using A&F. This study underscores leadership, designated responsibility and facilitation throughout a full audit cycle.