The added value of headache care units

31 de July de 2019

Headache is the most frequent neurological reason for medical consultation at all levels of care. In our country there are few Specialized Units in Headache; The majority of patients sent by headache from Primary Care are treated in general neurology consultations. There are very few data in the literature that have analyzed whether medical care of the patient with headache in Specialized Units in Headache adds value to the care in CG. In this work, we evaluated the quality of care of 313 anonymous patients with headache in Specialized Units in Headache versus general neurology consultations based on 13 indicators that we had agreed on 8 headache experts after an exhaustive review of the literature.

Overall, the Specialized Headache Units showed a better score in the indicators than the traditional general neurology consultations, which translated into practice, for example, in a lower need to go to the Emergency Department (half), in a lower repetition rate of neuroimaging tests due to headache (7 times lower) and in a smaller proportion of adverse effects. All this involved greater patient satisfaction although the Specialized Units in Headache treated more complex patients.

In summary, in general, the Units Specialized in Headache generate greater value for the patient than general neurology consultations. Given the high demand for headaches, future studies will be necessary in which it is clarified what type of patients benefit most from care in Specialized Units in Headache.

Reference: Patricia Pozo-Rosich, Alba Martínez-García, Julio Pascual, Emilio Ignacio, Angel L Guerroero-Peral, Jose´Balseiro-Gómez, Germán Latorre-González, Almidena Layos-Romero, César Lucas, José J Mira. Quality assurance in specialized headache units in Spain: an observational prospective study. Journal of Headache and Pain 2019.