Evaluation the quality of sexually transmitted infection care: a comparison of five clinical settings at an urban safety net hospital
Sequeira, Shwetha Sophia
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IMPORTANCE: With greater access to health care through health care reform it is important to know if quality of care for similar complaints differs across clinical settings. OBJECTIVE: Develop and pilot a chart review instrument to measure quality of care for patients presenting with urethritis and vaginitis. METHODS: List of sexually transmitted infection (STI) quality of care measures was reviewed by a panel of five STI experts representing Emergency Department (ED), Obstetrics/Gynecology (Ob/Gyn), Family Medicine (FM), Primary Care (PC) and Infectious Disease. Panel members grouped each measure into “standard” or “exceeds standard of care” in evaluation and management of male patients with penile discharge/dysuria or female patients with vaginal discharge. The chart review instrument was piloted on 50 charts per gender from the STI Clinic and matched charts, by patient presenting complaint, age, gender, and visit date, from PC, FM, ED, and Ob/Gyn (for vaginal discharge) in the same large safety-net hospital in Massachusetts. RESULTS: Twenty-four and 34 final measures in male and female patients, respectively, were selected on plurality of expert panel member’s categorization into “standard of care”. Measures were grouped into 7 clinical domains: history, examination, laboratory testing, additional screening, assessment, treatment, and counseling. Performance on the 7 domains ranged from 3.16-4.36 on male patients and 3.17-4.40 on female patients, with the highest scores in the STI Clinic. However, each clinical setting had particular documentation strengths and weaknesses: STI Clinic scored higher on laboratory testing, additional screening, and counseling, but scored lower on examination and assessment; ED scored higher on examination and treatment; PC and FM scored higher on laboratory testing for male patients and on examination and treatment for female patients; Ob/Gyn scored higher on treatment. All sites other than the STI Clinic scored poorly on additional screening and counseling. CONCLUSIONS: An instrument to discern standard of care and identify strengths and weaknesses in specific domains of clinical documentation for patients presenting with STI complaints can be rapidly developed and implemented to evaluate quality of care across care settings. Further research is needed on whether these findings can be integrated into site-specific quality improvement processes and linked to cost analyses.
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