HealthDay News — In an article published online Feb. 23 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 15 suggestions are presented to optimize the effectiveness of practice feedback.

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.

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The authors note that the 15 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
  • and focus on specific actions.

They should also:

  • provide multiple instances of feedback
  • provide feedback as soon as possible
  • provide individual data
  • and choose appropriate comparators that reinforce behavior change.

Feedback should:

  • closely link the visual display and summary message
  • be provided in more than one way,
  • and 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
  • and 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 Effectiveness. Ann Intern Med. 2016; doi:10.7326/M15-2248.