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Can J Cardiol. 2007 Apr;23(5):383-8.

Quality indicators for cardiovascular primary care.

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Department of Family Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.



The Canadian Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Team was established in 2001 to improve the quality of cardiovascular care for Canadians. Initially, quality indicators (QIs) for hospital-based care for those with acute myocardial infarctions and congestive heart failure were developed and measured. Qualitative research on the acceptability of those indicators concluded that indicators were needed for ambulatory primary care practice, where the bulk of cardiovascular disease care occurs.


To systematically develop QIs for primary care practice for the primary prevention and chronic disease management of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and heart failure.


A four-stage modified Delphi approach was used and included a literature review of evidence-based practice guidelines and previously developed QIs; the development and circulation of a survey tool with proposed QIs, asking respondents to rate each indicator for validity, necessity to record and feasibility to collect; an in-person meeting of respondents to resolve rating and content discrepancies, and suggest additional QIs; and recirculation of the survey tool for rating of additional QIs. Participants from across Canada included family physicians, primary care nurses, an emergency room family physician and cardiologists.


31 QIs were agreed on, nine of which were for primary prevention and 22 of which were for chronic disease management.


A core set of QIs for ambulatory primary care practice has been developed as a tool for practitioners to evaluate the quality of cardiovascular disease care. While the participants rated the indicators as feasible to collect, the next step will be to conduct field validation.

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