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Popul Health Manag. 2011 Apr;14(2):99-106. doi: 10.1089/pop.2010.0020. Epub 2010 Nov 23.

Quality of care for veterans with chronic diseases: performance on quality indicators, medication use and adherence, and health care utilization.

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  • 1Medical Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Tampa, Florida, USA.


This study was conducted to assess and benchmark the quality of care, in terms of adherence to nationally recognized treatment guidelines, for veterans with common chronic diseases (ie, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], coronary artery disease [CAD], diabetes, heart failure, hyperlipidemia [HL]) in a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system. Patients with at least 1 of the target diagnoses in the period between January 2002 and mid-year 2006 were identified using electronic medical records of patients seen at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa, Florida. The most common diseases identified were HL (34%), CAD (21%), and diabetes (19%). The percentage of patients filling a prescription for any guidelines-sanctioned pharmacotherapy ranged from 28% (heart failure) to 91% (asthma). Persistence to medication ranged from 21% (HL) to 63% (asthma), while compliance ranged from 49% (COPD) to 85% (CAD). Most patients with diabetes (88%) had at least 1 A1c test in a year, but only 47% of patients had A1c values <7%. This study found that quality of care was generally good for conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but quality care for conditions that have not been a primary focus of previous VHA quality improvement efforts, such as asthma and COPD, has room for improvement.

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