Feedback to clinicians: Theory, research, and practice

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Abstract

Despite the dearth of consistent evidence for conventional feedback mechanisms in clinical practice, the primary methods of feedback for clinicians remain supervision and clinical experience. A new research approach, known as patient-focused research, provides clinicians with direct feedback regarding a client's health status and relative progress in therapy. This article briefly reviews the relation of different types of feedback (i.e., supervision, clinical experience, feedback on client health status) to clinical outcome. In contrast to the mixed results for clinical experience and supervision, providing client health status feedback to clinicians significantly improves outcome, especially for clients who are not doing well in therapy. We conclude with a description of a model that provides insight into ways that feedback interventions can work best for professionals. Characteristics of the clinician, the feedback format, and the dissonance between feedback and clinician goals all relate to the ways that feedback is interpreted and utilized. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol/In Session.

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