The Development and Feasibility Assessment of Canadian Quality Indicators for Atrial Fibrillation
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In 2010, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society embarked on an initiative to develop pan-Canadian quality indicators (QIs) and standardized data definitions with the ultimate goal of monitoring, comparing, and contrasting national cardiovascular care and its outcomes. One of the first working groups to be established was tasked with identifying and then defining a set of QIs for atrial fibrillation/flutter (AF/AFL). The Canadian Cardiovascular Society "Best Practices for Developing Cardiovascular Quality Indicators" methodology was used to develop an initial catalogue of 25 QIs intended to measure critical issues around access, process, and outcomes relating to AF/AFL management. This list was subsequently pared down to 5 QIs felt to have the greatest relative importance for quality assurance and measurability so as to facilitate early adoption. Three of these QIs were finally selected to assess the feasibility of their measurement using existing administrative datasets. These were the number of patients with a diagnosis of nonvalvular AF/AFL at high risk of stroke (75 years or older, or CHADS2 ≥ 2) receiving an oral anticoagulant, and the rates of stroke and major haemorrhage in patients with nonvalvular AF/AFL according to CHA2DS2-VASc score and anticoagulant use. Despite their clear importance in assessing AF/AFL care, none of these 3 QIs were found to be readily measurable across Canada using existing national datasets. Investment in new medical data infrastructure is required to facilitate regular monitoring of QIs to improve cardiovascular care.
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