Types and effects of feedback for emergency ambulance staff: a systematic mixed studies review and meta-analysis

Caitlin Wilson, Gillian Janes, Rebecca Lawton, Jonathan Benn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Extensive research has been conducted into the effects of feedback interventions within many areas of healthcare, but prehospital emergency care has been relatively neglected. Exploratory work suggests that enhancing feedback and follow-up to emergency medical service (EMS) staff might provide staff with closure and improve clinical performance. Our aim was to summarise the literature on the types of feedback received by EMS professionals and its effects on the quality and safety of patient care, staff well-being and professional development.

METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis, including primary research studies of any method published in peer-reviewed journals. Studies were included if they contained information on systematic feedback to emergency ambulance staff regarding their performance. Databases searched from inception were MEDLINE, Embase, AMED, PsycINFO, HMIC, CINAHL and Web of Science, with searches last updated on 2 August 2022. Study quality was appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Data analysis followed a convergent integrated design involving simultaneous narrative synthesis and random effects multilevel meta-analyses.

RESULTS: The search strategy yielded 3183 articles, with 48 studies meeting inclusion criteria after title/abstract screening and full-text review. Interventions were categorised as audit and feedback (n=31), peer-to-peer feedback (n=3), postevent debriefing (n=2), incident-prompted feedback (n=1), patient outcome feedback (n=1) or a combination thereof (n=4). Feedback was found to have a moderate positive effect on quality of care and professional development with a pooled effect of d=0.50 (95% CI 0.34, 0.67). Feedback to EMS professionals had large effects in improving documentation (d=0.73 (0.00, 1.45)) and protocol adherence (d=0.68 (0.12, 1.24)), as well as small effects in enhancing cardiac arrest performance (d=0.46 (0.06, 0.86)), clinical decision-making (d=0.47 (0.23, 0.72)), ambulance times (d=0.43 (0.12, 0.74)) and survival rates (d=0.22 (0.11, 0.33)). The between-study heterogeneity variance was estimated at σ2=0.32 (95% CI 0.22, 0.50), with an I2 value of 99% (95% CI 98%, 99%), indicating substantial statistical heterogeneity.

CONCLUSION: This review demonstrated that the evidence base currently does not support a clear single point estimate of the pooled effect of feedback to EMS staff as a single intervention type due to study heterogeneity. Further research is needed to provide guidance and frameworks supporting better design and evaluation of feedback interventions within EMS.

PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020162600.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-588
Number of pages16
JournalBMJ Quality and Safety
Volume32
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Ambulances
  • Feedback
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Delivery of Health Care

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Types and effects of feedback for emergency ambulance staff: a systematic mixed studies review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this