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Table 3 PICOS inclusion criteria and example exclusions

From: Clinical Performance Feedback Intervention Theory (CP-FIT): a new theory for designing, implementing, and evaluating feedback in health care based on a systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative research

Inclusion criteria Typical exclusion examples
Population
 The intervention primarily targeted health professionals (including clinicians and non-clinicians e.g. managers) [8]. Interventions intended to help patients choose health care provider or treatment (e.g. [124]).
Intervention
 The intervention provided feedback to participants [8]. Audit reports (e.g. [125]); pay-for-performance programmes where feedback was not explicitly provided (e.g. [126]).
 Feedback primarily concerned health professionals’ performance in clinical settings, defined as compliance with pre-defined clinical standards (e.g. clinical guidelines) and/or achievement of clinical patient outcomes [8]. This may have referred to the performance of an individual, their team, or organisation [8]. Interventions that provided only fictitious feedback (e.g. [127]), feedback used in training or simulated settings (e.g. [128]), feedback on non-clinical aspects of performance, or data not directly related to clinical performance, such as costs of care (e.g. [129]), patient experience (e.g. [130]), or epidemiological surveillance (e.g. [131]).
 Clinical performance data were primarily measured from medical records, computerised databases, or observations from patients [2, 132]. Feedback based only on peer or supervisor observation (e.g. [133]).
 Feedback related to care provided to defined populations of patients [2, 8, 134]. Feedback solely on the care of individual patients, such as reminder or alert systems (e.g. [135]), patient-level summaries (e.g. [136]), significant event analyses, or case reviews (e.g. [137]).
 Feedback could inform quality improvement actions for teams or organisations, not solely individual patients [2, 134]. Dashboards that summarised patients’ current clinical status to primarily inform point-of care decisions (e.g. [138]).
 Feedback was a core and essential component of the intervention i.e. in multifaceted interventions was unlikely other components would have been offered in the absence of feedback [8, 132]. Improvement collaboratives that primarily consisted of mentoring visits, improvement advisors, and educational sessions, with “benchmarking” as an additional component (e.g. [139]).
Comparator
 Not applicable Not applicable
Outcome
 The intervention primarily aimed to improve clinical performance (as defined) [8]. Interventions that primarily intended to reduce costs (e.g. [129]).
Study
 Studies of specific interventions described in enough detail to determine whether they met the above criteria. Studies of groups or collections of interventions, the characteristics of which are not clearly described. For example, studies of “feedback interventions” in general (e.g. [140]).
 Evaluations of feedback interventions that reported both qualitative data collection (e.g. semi-structured interviews, focus groups, unstructured observations) and analysis methods (e.g. grounded theory, thematic analysis, framework analysis) [141]. They must have provided either a full methodological description or reference to a specific relevant approach [141].
 Studies could seek to answer any research question about the feedback intervention.
Studies reporting interviews or focus groups but no description of analytic methods (e.g. [142]), intervention descriptions or protocol papers (e.g. [143]), editorials or opinion papers (e.g. [144]), quantitative surveys with or without open ended questions (e.g. [145]), or manuscripts with insufficient detail to judge adequacy, such as abstracts or letters (e.g. [146]).
 Peer-reviewed publications in scholarly journals written in English. Books, grey literature, theses (e.g. [147]).