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National clinical audits play key roles in improving care and driving system-wide change. However, effects of audit and feedback depend upon both reach (e.g. relevant staff receiving the feedback) and response (e.g. staff regulating their behaviour accordingly). This study aimed to investigate which hospital staff initially receive feedback and formulate a response, how feedback is disseminated within hospitals, and how responses are enacted (including barriers and enablers to enactment). Using a multiple case study approach, we purposively sampled four UK hospitals for variation in infrastructure and resources. We conducted semi-structured interviews with staff from transfusion-related roles and observed Hospital Transfusion Committee meetings. Interviews and analysis were based on the Theoretical Domains Framework of behaviour change. We coded interview transcripts into theoretical domains, then inductively identified themes within each domain to identify barriers and enablers. We also analysed data to identify which staff currently receive feedback and how dissemination is managed within the hospital. Members of the hospital's transfusion team initially received feedback in all cases, and were primarily responsible for disseminating and responding, facilitated through the Hospital Transfusion Committee. At each hospital, key individuals involved in prescribing transfusions reported never having received feedback from a national audit. Whether audits were discussed and actions explicitly agreed in Committee meetings varied between hospitals. Key enablers of action across all cases included clear lines of responsibility and strategies to remind staff about recommendations. Barriers included difficulties disseminating to relevant staff and needing to amend feedback to make it appropriate for local use. Appropriate responses by hospital staff to feedback about blood transfusion practice depend upon supportive infrastructures and role clarity. Hospitals could benefit from support to disseminate feedback systematically, particularly to frontline staff involved in the behaviours being audited, and practical tools to support strategic decision-making (e.g. action-planning around local response to feedback).

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Blood Transfusion, Feedback, Health Personnel, Hospitals, Humans, Information Dissemination, Interviews as Topic, Medical Audit, Models, Theoretical, Organizational Innovation, Quality Improvement, United Kingdom