Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Performance feedback: An exploratory study to examine the acceptability and impact for interdisciplinary primary care teams

Sharon Johnston1*, Michael Green2, Patricia Thille3, Colleen Savage45, Lynn Roberts4, Grant Russell6 and William Hogg1

Author Affiliations

1 CT Lamont Primary Health Care Research Centre, Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute. University of Ottawa, Department of Family Medicine. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

2 Department of Family Medicine, and Centre for Studies in Primary Care, Queen's University. Kingston, Ontario, Canada

3 Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary. Calgary, Alberta, Canada

4 Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, Queen's University. Kingston, Ontario, Canada

5 Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen's University. Kingston, Ontario, Canada

6 Southern Academic Primary Care Research Unit, School of Primary Health Care Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Australia

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BMC Family Practice 2011, 12:14  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-14

Published: 29 March 2011



This mixed methods study was designed to explore the acceptability and impact of feedback of team performance data to primary care interdisciplinary teams.


Seven interdisciplinary teams were offered a one-hour, facilitated performance feedback session presenting data from a comprehensive, previously-conducted evaluation, selecting highlights such as performance on chronic disease management, access, patient satisfaction and team function.


Several recurrent themes emerged from participants' surveys and two rounds of interviews within three months of the feedback session. Team performance measurement and feedback was welcomed across teams and disciplines. This feedback could build the team, the culture, and the capacity for quality improvement. However, existing performance indicators do not equally reflect the role of different disciplines within an interdisciplinary team. Finally, the effect of team performance feedback on intentions to improve performance was hindered by a poor understanding of how the team could use the data.


The findings further our understanding of how performance feedback may engage interdisciplinary team members in improving the quality of primary care and the unique challenges specific to these settings. There is a need to develop a shared sense of responsibility and agenda for quality improvement. Therefore, more efforts to develop flexible and interactive performance-reporting structures (that better reflect contributions from all team members) in which teams could specify the information and audience may assist in promoting quality improvement.