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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2013 Feb;52(2):382-90. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kes266. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

Health care quality indicators on the management of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis: a literature review.

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  • 1Musculoskeletal Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics, Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Lund, Sweden. britta.strombeck@morse.nu



To make an inventory of quality and content of currently available and published sets of health care quality indicators (HCQIs) for RA and OA.


A systematic review was performed for documents on the development and/or a description of HCQIs for the management of patients with RA and/or OA, using the PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, Cochrane and CINAHL databases up to 1 December 2010 and official websites of arthritis organizations. The following data were extracted: general characteristics, contents and quality of developmental process (six aspects related to the definition of target, target group and stakeholders, patient involvement, description of development and test of validity).


The search yielded 498 potentially eligible references and two websites, with ultimately six original HCQI sets for RA and/or OA being identified (one for RA and OA, two for OA and three for RA). The number of HCQI ranged from 7 to 27, with the majority being process indicators. No conflicting indicators between the HCQI sets for one condition were seen. Concerning the quality of the developmental process, all six sets lacked patient involvement.


Only a limited number of HCQI sets for the management of OA and RA are available, mainly including process indicators. The developmental process was methodologically suboptimal in all cases. As improvement of health care quality is an ongoing process, there is a need for development of HCQIs covering different aspects of health care quality (structure, process and outcome) and using appropriate methodology.

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