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Open Access Research article

Combining QOF data with the care bundle approach may provide a more meaningful measure of quality in general practice

Carl de Wet, John McKay and Paul Bowie*

Author affiliations

Department of Postgraduate General Practice Education, NHS Education for Scotland, 2 Central Quay, Glasgow, Scotland, G3 8BW, United Kingdom

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Citation and License

BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:351  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-351

Published: 8 October 2012

Abstract

Background

A significant minority of patients do not receive all the evidence-based care recommended for their conditions. Health care quality may be improved by reducing this observed variation. Composite measures offer a different patient-centred perspective on quality and are utilized in acute hospitals via the ‘care bundle’ concept as indicators of the reliability of specific (evidence-based) care delivery tasks and improved outcomes. A care bundle consists of a number of time-specific interventions that should be delivered to every patient every time. We aimed to apply the care bundle concept to selected QOF data to measure the quality of evidence-based care provision.

Methods

Care bundles and components were selected from QOF indicators according to defined criteria. Five clinical conditions were suitable for care bundles: Secondary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), Stroke & Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA), Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Diabetes Mellitus (DM). Each bundle has 3-8 components. A retrospective audit was undertaken in a convenience sample of nine general medical practices in the West of Scotland. Collected data included delivery (or not) of individual bundle components to all patients included on specific disease registers. Practice level and overall compliance with bundles and components were calculated in SPSS and expressed as a percentage.

Results

Nine practices (64.3%) with a combined patient population of 56,948 were able to provide data in the format requested. Overall compliance with developed QOF-based care bundles (composite measures) was as follows: CHD 64.0%, range 35.0-71.9%; Stroke/TIA 74.1%, range 51.6-82.8%; CKD 69.0%, range 64.0-81.4%; and COPD 82.0%, range 47.9-95.8%; and DM 58.4%, range 50.3-65.2%.

Conclusions

In this small study compliance with individual QOF-based care bundle components was high, but overall (‘all or nothing’) compliance was substantially lower. Care bundles may provide a more informed measure of care quality than existing methods. However, the acceptability, feasibility and potential impact on clinical outcomes are unknown.