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Closing the Quality Gap Series: Quality Improvement Measurement of Outcomes for People With Disabilities

Systematic Review ARCHIVED Oct 15, 2012
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Archived: This report is greater than 3 years old. Findings may be used for research purposes, but should not be considered current.

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Structured Abstract


To examine how health care outcomes for general medical care have been assessed for people with disabilities within the rubrics of care coordination and quality improvement.

Data Sources

MEDLINE®, PsychINFO, ERIC, and CIRRIE through March 27, 2012; hand searches of references from relevant literature and journals. A search of high-quality gray literature sources was also conducted.

Review Methods

We included all forms of disability except severe and persistent mental illness for all age groups in outpatient and community settings. We focused on outcomes, patient experience, and care coordination process measures. We looked for generic outcome measures rather than disability-condition–specific measures. We also looked for examples of outcomes used in the context of disability as a complicating condition for a set of basic service needs relevant to the general population, and secondary conditions common to disability populations. Two independent reviewers screened all articles; disagreements were resolved through consensus. Included articles were abstracted to evidence tables and quality-checked by a second reviewer. Data synthesis was qualitative.


A total of 15,513 articles were screened; 15 articles were included for general outcome measures and 44 studies for care coordination. A large number of outcome measures have been critically assessed and mapped to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. We found no eligible studies of basic medical needs or secondary conditions that examined mixed populations of disabled and nondisabled participants for disability as a complicating condition. Care coordination literature for people with disabilities is relatively new and focuses on initial implementation of interventions rather than assessing the quality of the implementation.


We found very few direct examples of work conducted from the perspective of disability as a complicating condition. The sparse literature indicates the early stages of research development. Capturing the disability perspective will require collaboration and coordination of measurement efforts across medical interventions, rehabilitation, and social support provision.

Project Timeline

Closing the Quality Gap Series: Quality Improvement Measurement of Outcomes for People With Disabilities

Aug 3, 2011
Topic Initiated
Aug 3, 2011
Oct 15, 2012
Systematic Review Archived
Page last reviewed December 2019
Page originally created November 2017

Internet Citation: Systematic Review: Closing the Quality Gap Series: Quality Improvement Measurement of Outcomes for People With Disabilities. Content last reviewed December 2019. Effective Health Care Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

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