Implementation of a patient-collected audio recording audit & feedback quality improvement program to prevent contextual error: stakeholder perspective

Sherry L. Ball, Saul J. Weiner*, Alan Schwartz, Lisa Altman, Amy Binns-Calvey, Carolyn Chan, Corinna Falck-Ytter, Meghana Frenchman, Bryan Gee, Jeffrey L. Jackson, Neil Jordan, Benjamin Kass, Brendan Kelly, Nasia Safdar, Cecilia Scholcoff, Gunjan Sharma, Soumya Subramaniam, Frances Weaver, Maria Wopat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Using patient audio recordings of medical visits to provide clinicians with feedback on their attention to patient life context in care planning can improve health care delivery and outcomes, and reduce costs. However, such an initiative can raise concerns across stakeholders about surveillance, intrusiveness and merit. This study examined the perspectives of patients, physicians and other clinical staff, and facility leaders over 3 years at six sites during the implementation of a patient-collected audio quality improvement program designed to improve patient-centered care in a non-threatening manner and with minimal effort required of patients and clinicians. Methods: Patients were invited during the first and third year to complete exit surveys when they returned their audio recorders following visits, and clinicians to complete surveys annually. Clinicians were invited to participate in focus groups in the first and third years. Facility leaders were interviewed individually during the last 6 months of the study. Results: There were a total of 12 focus groups with 89 participants, and 30 leadership interviews. Two hundred fourteen clinicians and 800 patients completed surveys. In a qualitative analysis of focus group data employing NVivo, clinicians initially expressed concerns that the program could be disruptive and/or burdensome, but these diminished with program exposure and were substantially replaced by an appreciation for the value of low stakes constructive feedback. They were also significantly more confident in the value of the intervention in the final year (p =.008), more likely to agree that leadership supports continuous improvement of patient care and gives feedback on outcomes (p =.02), and at a time that is convenient (p =.04). Patients who volunteered sometimes expressed concerns they were “spying” on their doctors, but most saw it as an opportunity to improve care. Leaders were supportive of the program but not yet prepared to commit to funding it exclusively with facility resources. Conclusions: A patient-collected audio program can be implemented when it is perceived as safe, not disruptive or burdensome, and as contributing to better health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number891
JournalBMC health services research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Contextual error
  • Contextualization of care
  • Patient-collected audio
  • Performance improvement
  • Quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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