In search of quality indicators for Down syndrome healthcare: A scoping review

F.A. van den Driessen Mareeuw, M.I. Hollegien, A.M.W. Coppus, D. Delnoij, E. de Vries

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The medical care chain around Down syndrome (DS) is complex, with many multidisciplinary challenges. The current quality of care is unknown. Outcome-oriented quality indicators have the potential to improve medical practice and evaluate whether innovations are successful. This is particularly interesting for the evolving care for people with DS and intellectual disabilities (ID). The aim of this study was to identify existing indicators for medical DS care, by reviewing the literature.
We systematically searched six databases (PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Google Scholar) for studies concerning the development and implementation of quality indicators for DS and/or ID care, published until February 1st 2015. The scoping review method was used, including systematic data extraction and stakeholder consultation.
We identified 13 studies concerning quality indicators for ID care that obtained data originating from questionnaires (patient/family/staff), medical files and/or national databases. We did not find any indicator sets specifically for DS care. Consulted stakeholders did not come up with additional indicator sets. Existing indicators for ID care predominantly focus on support services. Indicators in care for people with ID targeting medical care are scarce. Of the 70 indicators within the 13 indicator sets, 10% are structure indicators, 34% process, 32% outcome and 24% mixed. Ten of the 13 sets include indicators on the WHO quality dimensions ‘patient-centeredness’, ‘effectiveness’ and ‘efficiency’ of care. ‘Accessibility’ is covered by nine sets, ‘equitability’ by six, and ‘safety’ by four. Most studies developed indicators in a multidisciplinary manner in a joint effort with all relevant stakeholders; some used focus groups to include people with ID.
To our knowledge, this is the first review that searched for studies on quality indicators in DS care. Hence, the study contributes to existing knowledge on DS care as well as on measuring quality of care. Future research should address the development of a compact set of quality indicators for the DS care chain as a whole. Indicators should preferably be patient-centred and outcome-oriented, including user perspectives, while developed in a multidisciplinary way to achieve successful implementation.
Down syndrome, Intellectual disability, Quality of health care, Quality indicators, Quality measures, Integrated delivery of health care
Original languageEnglish
Article number284
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


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