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Schramm, Sara; Uluduz, Derya; Gouveia, Raquel Gil; Jensen, Rigmor; Siva, Aksel; Uygunoglu, Ugur; Gvantsa, Giorgadze; Mania, Maka; Braschinsky, Mark; Filatova, Elena; Latysheva, Nina; Osipova, Vera; Skorobogatykh, Kirill; Azimova, Julia; Straube, Andreas; Eren, Ozan Emre; Martelletti, Paolo; De Angelis, Valerio; Negro, Andrea; Linde, Mattias; Hagen, Knut; Radojicic, Aleksandra; Zidverc-Trajkovic, Jasna; Podgorac, Ana; Paemeleire, Koen; De Pue, Annelien; Lampl, Christian; Steiner, Timothy J. and Katsarava, Zaza (2016): Headache service quality: evaluation of quality indicators in 14 specialist-care centres. In: Journal of Headache and Pain, Vol. 17, 111

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Background: The study was a collaboration between Lifting The Burden (LTB) and the European Headache Federation (EHF). Its aim was to evaluate the implementation of quality indicators for headache care Europe-wide in specialist headache centres (level-3 according to the EHF/LTB standard). Methods: Employing previously-developed instruments in 14 such centres, we made enquiries, in each, of health-care providers (doctors, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists) and 50 patients, and analysed the medical records of 50 other patients. Enquiries were in 9 domains: diagnostic accuracy, individualized management, referral pathways, patient's education and reassurance, convenience and comfort, patient's satisfaction, equity and efficiency of the headache care, outcome assessment and safety. Results: Our study showed that highly experienced headache centres treated their patients in general very well. The centres were content with their work and their patients were content with their treatment. Including disability and quality-of-life evaluations in clinical assessments, and protocols regarding safety, proved problematic: better standards for these are needed. Some centres had problems with follow-up: many specialised centres operated in one-touch systems, without possibility of controlling long-term management or the success of treatments dependent on this. Conclusions: This first Europe-wide quality study showed that the quality indicators were workable in specialist care. They demonstrated common trends, producing evidence of what is majority practice. They also uncovered deficits that might be remedied in order to improve quality. They offer the means of setting benchmarks against which service quality may be judged. The next step is to take the evaluation process into non-specialist care (EHF/LTB levels 1 and 2).

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