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Bridging the gap between patient needs and quality indicators: a qualitative study with chronic heart failure patients

Authors Baudendistel I, Noest S, Peters-Klimm F, Herzberg H, Scherer M, Blozik E, Joos S

Received 3 March 2015

Accepted for publication 7 May 2015

Published 30 September 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 1397—1405


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Ines Baudendistel,1 Stefan Noest,1 Frank Peters-Klimm,1 Heidrun Herzberg,2 Martin Scherer,3 Eva Blozik,3 Stefanie Joos1,4

1Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany; 2Faculty of Health, Nursing, Administration, University of Applied Sciences Neubrandenburg, Neubrandenburg, Germany; 3Department of Primary Medical Care, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany; 4Institute for General Practice and Interprofessional Care, University Hospital Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany

Background: The German National Disease Management Guideline (NDMG) on chronic heart failure (CHF) derived nine clinical quality indicators (QIs) to enable assessment of quality of health care in patients with CHF. These QIs epitomize an evidence-based and somatic point of view of guided treatment, but little is known about the experiences and views of patients with their guideline-based treatment across multiple health care sectors.
Objective: The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore patient perspectives on guided treatment of CHF across multiple health care sectors. Furthermore, it was investigated to what extent patient perspectives are represented by the QIs of the German NDMG.
Methods: Using a qualitative approach, semistructured interviews were carried out with 17 CHF patients. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
Results: Patient-identified needs focused primarily on aspects like the doctor–patient relationship, communication, quality of individual-tailored information, and professional advice. Patients perceived shortcomings in processes of care such as communication and cooperation across health care sectors, especially at the transition between hospital and outpatient care.
Discussion: From the patient perspectives, the QIs do represent relevant somatic and clinical aims for quality measurement. However, deficits were identified, especially related to communication and cooperation across health care sectors. Given the fact that the inclusion of patient perspectives in quality improvement processes provides an important contribution to patient-centered health care, possible approaches for QI development such as direct and indirect patient involvement or generic vs disease-specific patient-related QIs should be the subject of future discussions.

Keywords: quality indicators, patient involvement, patient perspectives, chronic heart failure, national disease management guideline

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