A Clinical Leadership Lens on Implementing Progress Feedback in Three Countries: Development of a Multidimensional Qualitative Coding Scheme

Susan Douglas, Bram Bovendeerd, Maartje van Sonsbeek, Mya Manns, Xavier Patrick Milling, Ke’Sean S. Tyler, Nisha Bala, Tim Satterthwaite, Runar Tengel Hovland, Ingunn Amble, Dana Atzil-Slonim, Michael Barkham, Kim de Jong, Tony Kendrick, Samuel S. Nordberg, Wolfgang Lutz, Julian A. Rubel, Tommy Skjulsvik, Christian Moltu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Progress feedback, also known as measurement-based care (MBC), is the routine collection of patient-reported measures to monitor treatment progress and inform clinical decision-making. Although a key ingredient to improving mental health care, sustained use of progress feedback is poor. Integration into everyday workflow is challenging, impacted by a complex interrelated set of factors across patient, clinician, organizational, and health system levels. This study describes the development of a qualitative coding scheme for progress feedback implementation that accounts for the dynamic nature of barriers and facilitators across multiple levels of use in mental health settings. Such a coding scheme may help promote a common language for researchers and implementers to better identify barriers that need to be addressed, as well as facilitators that could be supported in different settings and contexts. Methods: Clinical staff, managers, and leaders from two Dutch, three Norwegian, and four mental health organizations in the USA participated in semi-structured interviews on how intra- and extra-organizational characteristics interact to influence the use of progress feedback in clinical practice, supervision, and program improvement. Interviews were conducted in the local language, then translated to English prior to qualitative coding. Results: A team-based consensus coding approach was used to refine an a priori expert-informed and literature-based qualitative scheme to incorporate new understandings and constructs as they emerged. First, this hermeneutic approach resulted in a multi-level coding scheme with nine superordinate categories and 30 subcategories. Second-order axial coding established contextually sensitive categories for barriers and facilitators. Conclusions: The primary outcome is an empirically derived multi-level qualitative coding scheme that can be used in progress feedback implementation research and development. It can be applied across contexts and settings, with expectations for ongoing refinement. Suggestions for future research and application in practice settings are provided. Supplementary materials include the coding scheme and a detailed playbook.

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Implementation
  • Measurement-based care
  • Organizational
  • Progress Feedback
  • Qualitative


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