Quantitative assessment of the quality of medical care provided in five family practices before and after attachment of a family practice nurse.
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The standards of patient care were maintained in five urban medical practices after the introduction of family practice nurses. Evaluations were achieved before and after their appointment by the indicator condition method. Minimal explicit criteria for the management of patients with 12 indicator conditions and by the use of 14 drugs were approved by an ad hoc peer group of community physicians. These cirteria were applied to the five practices by the use of a single-blind design and the abstraction of unaltered medical records. A standardized score for each practic e permitted comparison of scores for the management of indicator conditions and for the clinical use of drugs before and after attachment of the family practice nurses. For each of the indicator conditions and the drugs assessed in the five practices similar levels of adequacy were observed in the two study periods. These explicit (objective) audit resutls agreed with the implicit (subjective) assessments of the family practice nurses by their physician colleagues.