Variations and characteristics of quality indicators for maintenance hemodialysis patients: A systematic review

Health Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 5;1(11):e89. doi: 10.1002/hsr2.89. eCollection 2018 Nov.


Aims: Several quality indicators (QIs) to improve the quality of practice for hemodialysis patients have been implemented. However, the variations and characteristics of these indicators in terms of their use and feasibility have not been investigated. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the variations and characteristics of existing QIs for maintenance hemodialysis patients.

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search of MEDLINE via PubMed, Scopus, the Cochrane Library, and CINAHL, without date limits, on February 26, 2016. We selected the English-written articles regarding QIs for patients aged ≥18 years who were on maintenance hemodialysis therapy ≥3 months, and extracted the definition and development process of the reported QIs. We categorized each indicator into one of four types, namely, structure, process, surrogate outcome, and outcome, and assessed the data sources that were necessary to measure it.

Results: We included 70 articles and identified 101 indicators, and found that most of the consensus processes for selecting indicators were unclear. We also found that most indicators were not process indicators and that the measurement of some indicators required a chart review, which limits their use and feasibility.

Conclusions: Development of QIs for hemodialysis patients in the future should use a definitive consensus process and consider process-centered indicators that can be measured automatically using claims data and test results contained in electronic medical records, to improve usability and feasibility.

Keywords: clinical nephrology; epidemiology; quality improvement.