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Am J Med Qual. 1996 Winter;11(4):179-85.

Developing quality indicators as educational tools to measure the implementation of clinical practice guidelines.

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  • 1Medical Informatics Group, University of Missouri-Columbia 65211, USA.


Our objective was to explore expectations and recommendations for the development of measurable quality indicators as educational tools to implement clinical practice guidelines. A survey using structured personal interviews with a stratified sample of 20 health professionals was made. Questions analyzed preferences in evaluating quality of care, measuring discrepancies between clinical guidelines and actual practice patterns, and the development of quality indicators. All of our participants (100%) reported that the compliance with established and widely accepted clinical guidelines is an important quality indicator. Health professionals indicated 1.8 (+/- 1.1) overall preference of our developed quality indicators for the management of depression. Although most currently used quality indicators focus either on the process or on the outcome of care, health professionals strongly prefer indicators that measure both. Our measurable quality indicators were found to have wide acceptance without major differences among primary care physicians, medical directors, and health benefit managers.

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