Article| Volume 40, ISSUE 3, P453-459, March 2020

Guideline-based quality indicators for early pregnancy assessment units

Published:December 06, 2019DOI:


      Research question

      What valid guideline-based quality indicators can measure quality of care in early pregnancy assessment units (EPAU)?


      The systematic RAND-modified Delphi method was used to develop an indicator set from four evidence-based guidelines. An international expert panel was assembled to extract recommendations from these guidelines to establish quality indicators.


      A total of 119 recommendations were extracted. Eleven recommendations received a high median score and top five score above the 75th percentile and were selected as key recommendations. The expert panel reassessed 15 high score recommendations and top five score between the 50th and 75th percentile as well as one high score recommendation without consensus. Eight of these 16 recommendations were selected in the second round as key recommendations. The key recommendations were formulated into a set of 19 quality indicators, summarized as follows: women referred to an EPAU could be seen within 24 h and receive a clear explanation on treatment options; designated senior staff members could be responsible for the unit and staff could have had ultrasound training; protocols could be available for daily practice covering all treatment options for miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy; and an EPAU could have access to urine pregnancy testing and serum HCG assays.


      Nineteen quality indicators to measure early pregnancy care provided by EPAU were identified.


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      Merel van den Berg is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine, Amsterdam University Medical Centre, the Netherlands.
      Key message
      A set of 19 quality indicators could be developed to measure and reduce practice variation in early pregnancy care provided by Early Pregnancy Assessment Units.