Quality problem or issue: According to Swedish law, all health care units must have a system for quality improvement. The aim of this study was to follow an implementation process of a uniform routine for quality control of diabetes care in Primary Health Care in one county.
Initial assessment: Primary Health Care had a decentralized organization and patients with type 2 diabetes were served at 42 different Primary Health Care Centres.
Choice of solution: As the Swedish Diabetes Register (National Diabetes Register, NDR) holds the most important quality indicators, implementation of the NDR registration at all centres was chosen to be the best way to follow up quality in diabetes care.
Implementation: The process of implementing the NDR went through different phases and the main way to encourage commitment to the process was to reward performance in a progressively more differentiated way.
Evaluation: During the implementation process (2001-05) there was an increasing rate of registration. When the programme ceased, the registration rate had reached a level of 75%, which has remained stable and was still in 2010 one of the highest rates in Sweden.
Lessons learned: Important factors for success were the initiative taken by the profession itself and strong support from the leaders of the county council. It was also important to let the process develop gradually in order to get all staff involved. Among the outcomes was an increase in computer use in clinical practice among the diabetes nurse specialists and a structured way of encouraging the patients' participation in self-care.