Measuring Quality in Arthritis Care: The Arthritis Foundation's Quality Indicator Set for Analgesics

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To develop systematically validated quality indicators (QIs) addressing analgesic safety.


A comprehensive literature review of existing quality measures, clinical guidelines, and evidence supporting potential QIs concerning nonselective (traditional) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and newer cyclooxygenase 2–selective NSAIDs was undertaken. An expert panel then validated or refuted potential indicators utilizing a proven methodology.


Eleven potential QIs were proposed. After panel review, 8 were judged to be valid; an additional 10 were proposed by the panel, of which 7 were rated as valid. Quality indicators focused upon informing patients about risk, NSAID choice and gastrointestinal prophylaxis, and side effect monitoring.


The 15 validated indicators were combined, where appropriate, to yield 10 validated processes of care indicators for the safe use of NSAIDs. These indicators developed by literature review and finalized by our expert panel process can serve as a basis to compare the quality of analgesic use provided by health care providers and delivery systems.

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