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A qualitative analysis of a consensus process to develop quality indicators of injury care

Niklas Bobrovitz12, Julia S Parrilla23, Maria Santana2, Sharon E Straus4 and Henry T Stelfox35*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

2 Department of Medicine, Institute of Public Health, W21C Research and Innovation Center, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

3 Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

4 Department of Medicine, Saint Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

5 Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences, Institute for Public Health, University of Calgary, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada

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Implementation Science 2013, 8:45  doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-45

Published: 18 April 2013



Consensus methodologies are often used to create evidence-based measures of healthcare quality because they incorporate both available evidence and expert opinion to fill gaps in the knowledge base. However, there are limited studies of the key domains that are considered during panel discussion when developing quality indicators.


We performed a qualitative content analysis of the discussions from a two-day international workshop of injury control and quality-of-care experts (19 panel members) convened to create a standardized set of quality indicators for injury care. The workshop utilized a modified RAND/UCLA Appropriateness method. Workshop proceedings were recorded and transcribed verbatim. We used constant comparative analysis to analyze the transcripts of the workshop to identify key themes.


We identified four themes in the selection, development, and implementation of standardized quality indicators: specifying a clear purpose and goal(s) for the indicators to ensure relevant data elements were included, and that indicators could be used for system-wide benchmarking and improving patient outcomes; incorporating evidence, expertise, and patient perspectives to identify important clinical problems and potential measurement challenges; considering context and variations between centers in the health system that could influence either the relevance or application of an indicator; and contemplating data collection and management issues, including availability of existing data sources, quality of data, timeliness of data abstraction, and the potential role for primary data collection.


Our study provides a description of the key themes of discussion among a panel of clinical, managerial, and data experts developing quality indicators. Consideration of these themes could help shape deliberation of future panels convened to develop quality indicators.

Quality indicator; Wounds and injuries; Delphi technique; Quality improvement; RAND/UCLA Appropriateness method