Objectives: To suppress RA patients’ disease activity, it should be periodically measured and patients should be treated on the basis of the disease activity outcomes. Insight into the actual care, by using quality indicators, is the first step in achieving optimal care. The objective of this study was to develop a set of quality indicators to evaluate RA disease course monitoring of rheumatologists in daily clinical practice.
Methods: We applied a RAND modified Delphi method in a five step procedure: a literature search for quality indicators and recommendations about disease course monitoring, a first questionnaire round, a consensus meeting, a second questionnaire round, and drawing up the final set.
Results: The systematic procedure resulted in the development of 18 quality indicators: 10 process, 5 structure and 3 outcome indicators which describe seven domains of disease course monitoring: schedule follow-up visits; measure disease activity; functional impairment; structural damage; change medication; preconditions for measuring disease activity and outcome measures in terms of disease activity.
Conclusions: This quality indicator set can be used to assess the quality of disease course monitoring of rheumatologists in daily clinical practice, and to determine for which aspects of disease course monitoring rheumatologists perform well, or where there is room for improvement. This information can be used to improve the quality of disease course monitoring.
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