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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.
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.
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.