The ClaudicatioNet concept: design of a national integrated care network providing active and healthy aging for patients with intermittent claudication
Gert-Jan Lauret,1,2 Harm JH Gijsbers,3 Erik JM Hendriks,2 Marie-Louise Bartelink,4 Rob A de Bie,2 Joep AW Teijink1,2
On behalf of the ClaudicatioNet Study Group members
1Department of Vascular Surgery, Catharina Hospital, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; 2Caphri Research Institute, Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands; 3Dutch Society for Heart, Vascular and Lung Physiotherapy, Meijerslaan PG Heemstede, The Netherlands; 4Julius Center Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Introduction: Intermittent claudication (IC) is a manifestation of peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD). Besides cardiovascular risk management, supervised exercise therapy (SET) should be offered to all patients with IC. Outdated guidelines, an insufficient number of specialized physiotherapists (PTs), lack of awareness of the importance of SET by referring physicians, and misguided financial incentives all seriously impede the availability of a structured SET program in The Netherlands.
Description of care practice: By initiating regional care networks, ClaudicatioNet aims to improve the quality of care for patients with IC. Based on the chronic care model as a conceptual framework, these networks should enhance the access, continuity, and (cost) efficiency of the health care system. With the aid of a national database, health care professionals will be able to benchmark patient results while ClaudicatioNet will be able to monitor quality of care by way of functional and patient reported outcome measures.
Discussion: The success of ClaudicatioNet is dependent on several factors. Vascular surgeons, general practitioners and coordinating central caregivers will need to team up and work in close collaboration with specialized PTs. A substantial task in the upcoming years will be to monitor the quality, volume, and distribution of ClaudicatioNet PTs. Finally, misguided financial incentives within the Dutch health care system need to be tackled.
Conclusion: With ClaudicatioNet, integrated care pathways are likely to improve in the upcoming years. This should result in the achievement of optimal quality of care for all patients with IC.
Keywords: intermittent claudication, supervised exercise therapy, integrated care network, chronic care model, active healthy aging
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