Effect of enhancing audit and feedback on uptake of childhood pneumonia treatment policy in hospitals that are part of a clinical network: a cluster randomized trial

Ayieko P, Irimu G, Ogero M, Mwaniki P, Malla L, Julius T, Chepkirui M, Mbevi G, Oliwa J, Agweyu A, Akech S, Were F, English M, Clinical Information Network Authors
Implement Sci. 2019;14

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BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization (WHO) revised its clinical guidelines for management of childhood pneumonia in 2013. Significant delays have occurred during previous introductions of new guidelines into routine clinical practice in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). We therefore examined whether providing enhanced audit and feedback as opposed to routine standard feedback might accelerate adoption of the new pneumonia guidelines by clinical teams within hospitals in a low-income setting. METHODS: In this parallel group cluster randomized controlled trial, 12 hospitals were assigned to either enhanced feedback (n = 6 hospitals) or standard feedback (n = 6 hospitals) using restricted randomization. The standard (network) intervention delivered in both trial arms included support to improve collection and quality of patient data, provision of mentorship and team management training for pediatricians, peer-to-peer networking (meetings and social media), and multimodal (print, electronic) bimonthly hospital specific feedback reports on multiple indicators of evidence guideline adherence. In addition to this network intervention, the enhanced feedback group received a monthly hospital-specific feedback sheet targeting pneumonia indicators presented in multiple formats (graphical and text) linked to explicit performance goals and action plans and specific email follow up from a network coordinator. At the start of the trial, all hospitals received a standardized training on the new guidelines and printed booklets containing pneumonia treatment protocols. The primary outcome was the proportion of children admitted with indrawing and/or fast-breathing pneumonia who were correctly classified using new guidelines and received correct antibiotic treatment (oral amoxicillin) in the first 24 h. The secondary outcome was the proportion of correctly classified and treated children for whom clinicians changed treatment from oral amoxicillin to injectable antibiotics. RESULTS: The trial included 2299 childhood pneumonia admissions, 1087 within the hospitals randomized to enhanced feedback intervention, and 1212 to standard feedback. The proportion of children who were correctly classified and treated in the first 24 h during the entire 9-month period was 38.2% (393 out of 1030) and 38.4% (410 out of 1068) in the enhanced feedback and standard feedback groups, respectively (odds ratio 1.11; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.37-3.34; P = 0.855). However, in exploratory analyses, there was evidence of an interaction between type of feedback and duration (in months) since commencement of intervention, suggesting a difference in adoption of pneumonia policy over time in the enhanced compared to standard feedback arm (OR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.36, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Enhanced feedback comprising increased frequency, clear messaging aligned with goal setting, and outreach from a coordinator did not lead to a significant overall effect on correct pneumonia classification and treatment during the 9-month trial. There appeared to be a significant effect of time (representing cumulative effect of feedback cycles) on adoption of the new policy in the enhanced feedback compared to standard feedback group. Future studies should plan for longer follow-up periods to confirm these findings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: US National Institutes of Health-ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number) NCT02817971 . Registered September 28, 2016-retrospectively registered.