Background: Most industrialized countries are faced with a growing population of patients with chronic diseases and multimorbidity. Evidence performance gaps have been recognized in the treatment of this vulnerable patient group. In England, the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) - based on incentivized quality indicators - has been established to narrow the gap.
Objective: We evaluated to what extent clinical data, extracted from electronic medical records (EMRs) of Swiss general practitioners, can be used as quality indicators in terms of a Swiss Quality and Outcomes Framework (SQOF) for diabetes care adopted from the QOF of the UK National Health Service (NHS).
Methods: We searched the FIRE database (Family Medicine ICPC Research Using Electronic Medical Records) for patients suffering from diabetes type 1 or type 2. Eligible data were matched with the diabetes indicator set of the NHS QOF and compared with the results in England.
Results: A total of 11 out of 17 diabetes indicators could be adopted for the SQOF; 46 practices with 1,781 diabetes patients were included. The practices fulfilled the SQOF diabetes indicator set with 46.9% overall, with highest compliance for blood pressure measurements (97.8% of all practices) and lowest compliance for influenza immunization (45.7%). Our study practices showed higher variation across all indicators and between practices compared to England, but lacking structured data limited calculation of scores and comparability.
Conclusions: Our results show that it is technically feasible to establish a diabetes QOF in Swiss primary care based on EMRs. However, a high amount of missing data made it impossible to evaluate the actual quality of care. For a nationwide introduction, standards for electronic medical documentation and EMR use need to be set. It should also be acknowledged that important dimensions of suffering from one or more chronic diseases such as health-related quality of life are not reflected within a system focusing only on somatic aspects of a disease.