Does audit and feedback improve the adoption of recommended practices? Evidence from a longitudinal observational study of an emerging clinical network in Kenya
Background: Audit and feedback (A&F) is widely used in healthcare but there are few examples of how to deploy it at scale in low-income countries. Establishing the Clinical Information Network (CIN) in Kenya provided an opportunity to examine the effect of A&F delivered as part of a wider set of activities to promote paediatric guideline adherence. Methods: We analysed data collected from medical records on discharge for children aged 2-59 months from 14 Kenyan hospitals in the CIN. Hospitals joined CIN in phases and for each we analysed their initial 25 months of participation that occurred between December 2013 and March 2016. A total of 34 indicators of adherence to recommendations were selected for evaluation each classified by form of feedback (passive, active and none) and type of task (simple or difficult documentation and those requiring cognitive work). Performance change was explored graphically and using generalised linear mixed models with attention given to the effects of time and use of a standardised paediatric admission record (PAR) form. Results: Data from 60 214 admissions were eligible for analysis. Adherence to recommendations across hospitals significantly improved for 24/34 indicators. Improvements were not obviously related to nature of feedback, may be related to task type and were related to PAR use in the case of documentation indicators. There was, however, marked variability in adoption and adherence to recommended practices across sites and indicators. Hospital-specific factors, low baseline performance and specific contextual changes appeared to influence the magnitude of change in specific cases. Conclusion: Our observational data suggest some change in multiple indicators of adherence to recommendations (aspects of quality of care) can be achieved in low-resource hospitals using A&F and simple job aides in the context of a wider network approach.