Adrian Rohrbasser

DPhil in Evidence-Based Health Care


Exploring why Quality Circles work in Primary Health Care: A realist approach about how, why and under what circumstances they work.

Research abstract

Quality Circles (QCs) are commonly used in primary health care in Europe to consider and improve standard practice over time. They represent a complex social intervention that occurs within a fast-changing system. Numerous controlled trials, reviews and studies have shown small but unpredictable positive effects on behaviour change. Although QCs seem to be effective, stakeholders have difficulties understanding how the results are achieved and in generalising them with confidence. This thesis will examine how configurations of components and contextual features within QCs result in changes in health professionals’ behaviour. The objective is to increase the understanding of the active components that lead to improved clinical practice among participants.


Dr Geoff Wong, University of Oxford, Department of Primary Health Care Sciences

Dr Sharon Mickan, University of Oxford, Department of Primary Health Care Sciences

Dr Janet Harris, University of Sheffield, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)


I graduated from Medical School in Zürich in 1987 and in Stockholm in 1988. I spent 11 years in Sweden doing my vocational training and working as a family physician. I work now in Switzerland since 1996 as a GP for Santémed health care centres. As a member of the Committee of Quality in Swiss Family Practices and a supervisor and trainer of facilitators of Quality Circles, I am in close contact with the stakeholders of the Swiss Association of Family Medicine and was elected Swiss delegate for the European Society of Quality and Patient Safety in Family Practice (EQUiP). I completed MSc in EBHC in March 2013 and continue my studies as a DPhil student in close collaboration with local and European networks.


Rohrbasser A, Beutler H, Brühwiler J, Gehrlach  C, Hersperger M, Kurz  R, Meyer V: Nutzen und Aufwand von Qualitätsaktivitäten: Ein neues Tool bringt Licht ins Dunkel. Schweizerische Ärztezeitung | Bulletin des médecins suisses | Bollettino dei medici svizzeri 2013, 94(22):818.

Rohrbasser A, Mickan S, Harris J: Exploring why quality circles work in primary health care: a realist review protocol. Systematic Reviews 2013, 2(1):110.

Martin Y, Braun LA, Janggen MA, Tal K, Biller-Andorno N, Ducros C, Selby K, Auer R, Rohrbasser A: Offering patients a choice for colorectal cancer screening: a quality improvement pilot study in a quality circle of primary care physicians.BMJ Open Qual. 2019 Oct 3;8(4):e000670. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2019-000670. eCollection 2019.:

Rohrbasser A, Kirk UB, Arvidsson E.Use of quality circles for primary care providers in 24 European countries: an online survey of European Society for Quality and Safety in family practice delegates.Scand J Prim Health Care. 2019 Sep;37(3):302-311. doi: 10.1080/02813432.2019.1639902. Epub 2019 Jul 12.





Research interests

Knowldege Translation
Quality Improvement
Structured small group work / peer review