Objective: Recently a new form of nurse clinic for people with rheumatic diseases has been introduced into Dutch health care. This study gives insight into: (i) patients' perceptions about the quality and continuity of care given at these (transmural) nurse clinics; and (ii) specialized rheumatology nurses' and rheumatologists' perceptions about the quality and continuity of care in the clinics.
Design: Validated measurement tools (QUOTE and QCC) were used, before and after patients visited a clinic, to determine patient perceptions about the quality and continuity of care. Semi-structured interviews with professionals were used to gather information about their perceptions.
Setting: The study was carried out at five locations in The Netherlands where a home care organization and a general hospital collaborated closely and had joint responsibility for a transmural rheumatology nurse clinic.
Study participants: A total of 128 patients, six specialist rheumatology nurses and four rheumatologists.
Intervention: Transmural nurse clinics for people with rheumatic diseases.
Results: In general, patients were positive about the quality and continuity of care given at the clinics. Some continuity aspects, like the presence of a locum nurse and providing the locum with sufficient information could be improved. Professionals were positive about the information given at the clinics, which is additional to the information given by a rheumatologist. Professionals were less positive about some of the clinics' preconditions.
Conclusion: In this study, a control group (e.g. patients who received standard rheumatologist care) was not available. However, in comparison with patients' experiences of standard medical care in other (comparable) research, patients' experiences in this study were very positive. It was concluded that Dutch transmural nurse clinics, to a large extent, meet patients' and professionals' expectations and were a positive development in the care of rheumatic patients.