GA²LEN, the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network, has recently launched a programme for the development, interaction and accreditation of centers of reference and excellence in special areas of allergy embedded in its overall quality management of allergy centres of excellence. The first area chosen is urticaria. Urticaria is a common and debilitating condition and can be a challenge for both patients and treating physicians, especially when chronic. Centers of reference and excellence in urticaria (UCAREs) can help to improve the management of hard to treat conditions such as urticaria. Here, we describe the aims, the requirements and deliverables, the application process, and the audit and accreditation protocol for GA²LEN UCAREs. The main aims of GA²LEN UCAREs are to provide excellence in urticaria management, to increase the knowledge of urticaria by research and education, and to promote the awareness of urticaria by advocacy activities.
To become a certified GA²LEN UCARE, urticaria centers have to apply and fulfill 32 requirements, defined by specific deliverables that are assessed during an audit visit. The GA²LEN UCARE programme will result in a strong network of urticaria specialists, promote urticaria research, and harmonize and improve urticaria management globally.
A GA²LEN UCARE audit visit and meeting makes sure that a urticaria center complies with the rules and fulfills the requirements of GA²LEN UCARE. The audit visit is also meant to strengthen the interaction between UCAREs and to promote the discussion of urticaria management, the organization of urticaria centers and joint urticaria projects between UCARE centers in the future.
Auditors and auditees should see the audit visit as an opportunity to learn from each other, to promote the harmonization of urticaria management and to discuss and plan possible network projects and interactions.