Documents & Media
- Chenot, J. F.
- Introduction. Low back pain (LBP) is an epidemiologically and economically relevant health care problem appropriate for quality assurance approaches. Therefore an expert panel (AQUIK) of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians has proposed three quality indicators (QI) for monitoring the quality of ambulatory care for LBP.The aim of this article is to present and evaluate the proposed QIs. Material and methods. The three proposed QIs relating to red flags, imaging and sick leave certificates were evaluated with regard to the underpinning evidence, epidemiology and feasibility. Guidelines and original research as well results from surveys and observational studies evaluating adherence to LBP guidelines were used for assessment. Results. The expert panel concluded that only the recording of red flags is a relevant and feasible QI. Despite a two-stage expert method the epidemiology of LBP, feasibility and existing routine health care data were not sufficiently taken into account. The author's conclusion differs in two instances. The red flag concept is not sufficiently clinically validated and recordable to be used as a QI. Otherwise imaging is considered a suitable QI given the observed overuse and the availability of billing data. Conclusion. Deriving valid and pragmatic 01 from LBP guidelines for evaluating care for LBP is difficult. The core messages of guidelines are only recommendations with limited precision and transferability to individual patients. For pragmatic reasons definition of an upper or lower proportion of patients receiving a given health care service is recommended instead of tedious individual evaluation. Reasonable estimates can be based on data from research on health care services. Because of this uncertainty QIs should be evaluated before they are used as a steering instrument.
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- Institut für Allgemeinmedizin