Quality Indicators for the Diagnosis and Management of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
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OBJECTIVE: Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is an ideal entity for quality indicator (QI) development, providing treatment challenges resulting in variable or substandard care. The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery recently updated their SSNHL guidelines. With SSNHL demonstrating a large burden of illness, this study sought to leverage the updated guidelines and develop QIs that support quality improvement initiatives at an individual, institutional, and systems level. METHODS: Candidate indicators (CIs) were extracted from high-quality SSNHL guidelines that were evaluated using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II tool. Each CI and its supporting evidence were summarized and reviewed by a nine-member expert panel based on validity, reliability, and feasibility of measurement. Final QIs were selected from CIs using the modified RAND Corporation-University of California, Los Angeles appropriateness methodology. RESULTS: Fifteen CIs were identified after literature review. After the first round of evaluations, the panel agreed on 11 candidate indicators as appropriate QIs with 2 additional CIs suggested for consideration. An expert panel meeting provided a platform to discuss areas of disagreement before final evaluations. The expert panel subsequently agreed upon 11 final QIs as appropriate measures of high-quality care for SSNHL. CONCLUSION: The 11 proposed QIs from this study are supported by evidence and expert consensus, facilitating measurement across a wide breadth of quality domains. With the recently updated SSNHL guidelines, and a greater focus on quality improvement opportunities, these QIs may be used by healthcare providers for targeted quality improvement initiatives.
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