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Defining quality indicators for emergency care delivery: findings of an expert consensus process by emergency care practitioners in Africa

Abstract

Facility-based emergency care delivery in low-income and middle- income countries is expanding rapidly, particularly in Africa. Unfortunately, these efforts rarely include measurement of the quality or the impact of care provided, which is essential for improvement of care provision. Our aim was to determine context-appropriate quality indicators that will allow uniform and objective data collection to enhance emergency care delivery throughout Africa. We undertook a multiphase expert consensus process to identify, rank and refine quality indicators. A comprehensive review of the literature identified existing indicators; those associated with a substantial burden of disease in Africa were categorised and presented to consensus conference delegates. Participants selected indicators based on inclusion criteria and priority clinical conditions. The indicators were then presented to a group of expert clinicians via on-line survey; all meeting agreements were refined in-person by a separate panel and ranked according to validity, feasibility and value. The consensus working group selected seven conditions addressing nearly 75% of mortality in the African region to prioritise during indicator development, and the final product at the end of the multiphase study was a list of 76 indicators. This comprehensive process produced a robust set of quality indicators for emergency care that are appropriate for use in the African setting. The adaptation of a standardised set of indicators will enhance the quality of care provided and allow for comparison of system strengthening efforts and resource distribution.

  • health systems
  • health systems evaluation
  • health services research

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