OBJECTIVE: To develop review criteria to assess the quality of care for three major chronic diseases: adult asthma, stable angina, and non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Modified panel process based upon the RAND/UCLA (University College of Los Angeles) appropriateness method. Three multiprofessional panels made up of general practitioners, hospital specialists, and practice nurses. RESULTS: The RAND/UCLA appropriateness method of augmenting evidence with expert opinion was used to develop criteria for the care of the three conditions. Of those aspects of care which were rated as necessary by the panels, only 26% (16% asthma, 10% non-insulin dependent diabetes, 40% angina) were subsequently rated by the panels as being based on strong scientific evidence. CONCLUSION: The results show the importance of a systematic approach to combining evidence with expert opinion to develop review criteria for assessing the quality of three chronic diseases in general practice. The evidence base for the criteria was often incomplete, and explicit methods need to be used to combine evidence with expert opinion where evidence is not available.
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