Development of a benchmarking toolkit for adolescent and young adult rheumatology services (BeTAR)

Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2019 May 21;17(1):23. doi: 10.1186/s12969-019-0323-8.


Background: Young people (YP; 12-24 years old) with rheumatic diseases face many challenges associated with chronic illness in addition to the physiological and psychosocial changes of adolescence. Timely access to developmentally appropriate multidisciplinary care is key to successfully managing rheumatic diseases, but gaps in the care of this vulnerable age group still exist. This study aimed to develop a benchmarking toolkit to enable comparative evaluation of YP rheumatology services in order to promote best practice and reduce variations in service delivery.

Methods: A staged and consultative method was used across a broad group of stakeholders in the UK (YP, parents/other carers, and healthcare professionals, HCPs) to develop this toolkit, with reference to pre-existing standards of YP-friendly healthcare. Eighty-seven YP (median age 19 years, range 12-24 years) and 26 rheumatology HCPs with 1-34 years of experience caring for YP have participated.

Results: Thirty quality criteria were identified, which were grouped into four main domains: assessment and treatment, information and involvement, accessibility and environment, and continuity of care. Two toolkit versions, one to be completed by HCPs and one to be completed by patients, were developed. These were further refined by relevant groups and face validity was confirmed.

Conclusions: A toolkit has been developed to systematically evaluate and benchmark YP rheumatology services, which is key in setting standards of care, identifying targets for improvement and facilitating research. Engagement from YP, clinical teams, and commissioners with this tool should facilitate investigation of variability in levels of care and drive quality improvement.

Keywords: Adolescent rheumatology; Benchmarking; Healthcare services; Patient involvement; Quality improvement; Standards of care; Toolkit.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / standards
  • Adult
  • Benchmarking / methods*
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rheumatic Diseases / urine*
  • Transition to Adult Care / standards
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult