The American Academy of Neurology has developed a new tool to help doctors gauge how well they are caring for people with Parkinson's disease. The new quality measures are published in the November 30, 2010, issue of Neurology.
"Quality measures have been developed for conditions seen by primary care doctors for years, but not for many specialty care conditions such as brain disorders," said lead quality measures author Eric M. Cheng, MD, MS, with David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "Measuring the quality of health care is a fundamental step toward improving health care, and many quality measurement efforts are underway. The American Academy of Neurology is taking a leading role in ensuring that the quality of care for people with neurologic disorders is included in these efforts."
The Academy measures for Parkinson's disease help doctors to determine how well they are caring for nonmotor symptoms of the disease such as depression, sleep and falls. "These symptoms can be overlooked but have a great impact on a person's quality of life," Cheng said. The measures also include assessing symptoms, treatment and counseling a person on preventable complications of the disease.
"Quality measures like these will be increasingly important for extending the best care possible to people with neurologic disorders like Parkinson's disease," said Cheng.
The AAN is working on developing similar measures in epilepsy, stroke, dementia, neuropathy, headache and multiple sclerosis.
It is estimated that about one million people in the United States have Parkinson's disease.
Explore further: Researchers decipher the role of nanostructures around brain cells in central nervous system function