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Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001 Apr;16 Suppl 3:S5-13.

DIABCARE Quality Network in Europe--a model for quality management in chronic diseases.

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  • 1DIABCARE Office EURO, Munich, Germany.


The DIABCARE Q-Net project developed a complete and integrated information technology system to monitor diabetes care, according to the gold standards of the St Vincent Declaration Action Program. This is the first Telematic platform for standardized documentation on medical quality and evaluation across Europe, which will serve as a model for other chronic diseases. Quality development starts from the comparison of diabetes services, based on the key data on diabetes care in the basic information sheet. This is a 141 field form, which is to be completed once a year for each patient under the care of the diabetes team. The system performs an analysis of the local data and compares the data with peer teams by means of telecommunication of anonymous data. These data are collected regionally. At the next level these regional data are compared on a national basis across Europe using dedicated communication lines. National data can be compared transnationally by the use of the Internet and the DIABCARE benchmarking servers. These different lines are used according to the necessary security standards. Medical data are transferred via dedicated lines, aggregated data via the Internet. The architecture follows the open-platform concept in order to allow for heterogeneous technical environments. Already at the start of the project, the necessity for expanding the quality approach to telemedicine methodology was identified and included. For each level, specific programs are available to improve the performance of diabetes care delivery: DIABCARE data as client and DIABCARE server as regional and DIABCARE 'international server' as transnational server. Functioning pilots were established across all levels. The clients have been linked to the servers on a routine basis. According to the open architecture design, the various countries decided on different systems at the entry point: full system--Portugal; fax systems--Italy, Bavaria; implementation into doctor's office systems--Norway; paper forms and chip cards--France. This system can improve the local, regional and national diabetes care. Initiatives in several countries proved the feasibility of the system. The most extensive use, from Portugal, will be reported later in this paper. The exploitation of the DIABCARE Q-Net system will be performed with the DIABCARE International European Economic Interest Grouping as a co-ordinator and several commercial companies as contractors to market the products inside the system. The key project participants are: DIABCARE Office EURO, DIABCARE Portugal, DIABCARE France, DIABCARE Bavaria, DIABCARE UK, DIABCARE Netherlands, DIABCARE Norway, DIABCARE Italy, DIABCARE Sweden, DIABCARE Austria, DIABCARE Spain, GSF Research Centre for Health and Environment, FAST Research Institute for Applied Software Technology, Tromsø University Hospital, Stavanger Technical College, Technical University of Ilmenau, World Health Organisation (WHO), Regional Office for Europe.

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