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Stroke. 2010 Jul;41(7):1573-8. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.109.577171. Epub 2010 May 20.

Development of stroke performance measures: definitions, methods, and current measures.

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Department of Epidemiology, Michigan State University, B601 West Fee Hall, East Lansing, Mich 48824, USA.



In the United States and elsewhere, stroke performance measures have been developed to monitor and improve the quality of care. The process by which these measures are developed, implemented, and evaluated is complex, evolving, and not widely understood. We review the methodological development of stroke performance measures in the United States.


A literature search identified articles that addressed the development and endorsement of performance measures for stroke care. Emphasis was given to articles specific to acute stroke, but when these were lacking, other cardiovascular diseases were included.


Ten process-based performance measures relevant to acute hospital-based stroke care have now been developed and endorsed. These measures include intravenous thrombolysis, deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, dysphagia screening, stroke education, and discharge-related medications and assessments. There are currently at least 5 major US-based stroke quality improvement programs implementing stroke measures. Data indicate that rapid improvements in the quality of stroke care can be induced by the systematic collection and evaluation of stroke performance measures. However, current stroke measures are relatively limited, addressing only inpatient care and mostly patients with ischemic stroke.


Stroke quality improvement is still in its early stages, but data suggest that large-scale improvements in stroke care can result from the implementation of stroke performance measures. Performance measures that address multidisciplinary stroke unit care, outpatient-based care, and patient-oriented outcomes such as functional recovery should be considered. Ongoing challenges relevant to stroke quality improvement include the role of public reporting and the need to link better stroke care to improved patient outcomes.

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