OBJECTIVES: To gain insight into SSc patients' perspective on quality of care and to survey their preferred quality indicators.
METHODS: An online questionnaire about healthcare setting, perceived quality of care (CQ index) and quality indicators, was sent to 2093 patients from 13 Dutch hospitals.
RESULTS: Six hundred and fifty patients (mean age 59 years, 75% women, 32% limited cutaneous SSc, 20% diffuse cutaneous SSc) completed the questionnaire. Mean time to diagnosis was 4.3 years (s.d. 6.9) and was longer in women compared with men (4.8 (s.d. 7.3) vs 2.5 (s.d. 5.0) years). Treatment took place in a SSc expert centre for 58%, regional centre for 29% or in both for 39% of patients. Thirteen percent of patients was not aware of whether their hospital was specialized in SSc. The perceived quality of care was rated with a mean score of 3.2 (s.d. 0.5) (range 1.0-4.0). There were no relevant differences between expert and regional centres. The three prioritized process indicators were: good patient-physician interaction (80%), structural multidisciplinary collaboration (46%) and receiving treatment according to SSc guidelines (44%). Absence of disease progression (66%), organ involvement (33%) and digital ulcers (27%) were the three highest rated outcome indicators.
CONCLUSION: The perceived quality of care evaluated in our study was fair to good. No differences between expert and regional centres were observed. Our prioritized process and outcome indicators can be added to indicators suggested by SSc experts in earlier studies and can be used to evaluate the quality of care in SSc.