Determining whether persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) receive appropriate, comprehensive healthcare requires tools for measuring quality. The objective of this study was to develop quality indicators for the care of persons with MS. We used a modified version of the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method in a two-stage process to identify relevant MS care domains and to assess the validity of indicators within high-ranking care domains. Based on a literature review, interviews with persons with MS, and discussions with MS providers, 25 MS symptom domains and 14 general health domains of MS care were identified. A multidisciplinary panel of 15 stakeholders of MS care, including 4 persons with MS, rated these 39 domains in a two-round modified Delphi process. The research team performed an expanded literature review for 26 highly ranked domains to draft 86 MS care indicators. Through another two-round modified Delphi process, a second panel of 18 stakeholders rated these indicators using a nine-point response scale. Indicators with a median rating in the highest tertile were considered valid. Among the most highly rated MS care domains were appropriateness and timeliness of the diagnostic work-up, bladder dysfunction, cognition dysfunction, depression, disease-modifying agent usage, fatigue, integration of care, and spasticity. Of the 86 preliminary indicators, 76 were rated highly enough to meet predetermined thresholds for validity. Following a widely accepted methodology, we developed a comprehensive set of quality indicators for MS care that can be used to assess quality of care and guide the design of interventions to improve care among persons with MS.
Keywords: health services research, multiple sclerosis, outcome research, quality indicators