Measuring quality in arthritis care: methods for developing the Arthritis Foundation's quality indicator set

Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Apr 15;51(2):193-202. doi: 10.1002/art.20248.


Objective: To develop a comprehensive set of explicit process measures to assess the quality of health care for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and analgesics use.

Methods: Potential quality measures and a summary of existing data to support or refute the relationship between the processes of care proposed in the indicators and relevant clinical outcomes were developed through a comprehensive literature review. The proposed measures and literature summary were presented to a multidisciplinary panel of experts in arthritis and pain. Using a modification of the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method, the panel rated each proposed measure for its validity as a measure of health care quality.

Results: Among 66 proposed indicators, the expert panel rated 51 as valid measures of health care including 14 for osteoarthritis, 27 for rheumatoid arthritis, and 10 for analgesics use.

Conclusions: Sufficient scientific evidence and expert consensus exist to support a comprehensive set of measures to assess the quality of heath care for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and analgesics use. These measures can be used to gain an understanding of the quality of care for patients with arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Foundations
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods*
  • Rheumatology / standards*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal