Selection of key recommendations for quality indicators describing good quality outbreak response

Evelien Belfroid, Jeannine L A Hautvast, Mirrian Hilbink, Aura Timen, Marlies E J L Hulscher

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The performance of recommended control measures is necessary for quick and uniform infectious disease outbreak control. To assess whether these procedures are performed, a valid set of quality indicators (QIs) is required. The goal of this study was to select a set of key recommendations that can be systematically translated into QIs to measure the quality of infectious disease outbreak response from the perspective of disaster emergency responders and infectious disease control professionals.

METHODS: Applying the Rand modified Delphi procedure, the following steps were taken to systematically select a set of key recommendations: extraction of recommendations from relevant literature; appraisal of the recommendations in terms of relevance through questionnaires to experts; expert meeting to discuss recommendations; prioritization of recommendations through a second questionnaire; and final expert meeting to approve the selected set. Infectious disease physicians and nurses, policymakers and communication experts participated in the expert group (n=48).

RESULTS: In total, 54 national and international publications were systematically searched for recommendations, yielding over 200 recommendations. The Rand modified Delphi procedure resulted in a set of 65 key recommendations. The key recommendations were categorized into 10 domains describing the whole response pathway from outbreak recognition to aftercare.

CONCLUSION: This study provides a set of key recommendations that represents 'good quality of response to an infectious disease outbreak'. These key recommendations can be systematically translated into QIs. Organizations and professionals involved in outbreak control can use these QIs to monitor the quality of response to infectious disease outbreaks and to assess in which domains improvement is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Delphi Technique
  • Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infection Control/standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care/standards


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