Assessment of American College of Rheumatology Quality Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis in a Pre-Quality Criteria Patient Cohort

Published in: Arthritis and Rheumatism, v. 57, no. 5, June 15, 2007, p. 707-715

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2007

by Katherine L. Kahn, Catherine MacLean, Andrew L. Wong, Laurence Rubenstein, Honghu H. Liu, Diane M. Fitzpatrick, Judith O. Harker, Wen-Pin Chen, Shana Traina, Brian Mittman, Bevra H. Hahn, H. E Paulus

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) starter set of quality measures for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in an actual patient cohort that preceded publication of the quality measures. METHODS: The authors retrospectively applied the 2006 ACR quality criteria to a prospectively studied cohort of 568 patients with RA treated by 1,932 unique physicians including 255 different rheumatologists between the years 1999 and 2003. Data on performance were obtained from self-report surveys and medical record review within 12 months. RESULTS: At least 1 joint examination was performed in 98% of patients. Patient and physician global assessments were reported for 79% and 74% of patients, respectively. A total of 85% of patients received disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). DMARD adjustments were made for 50% of patients in whom increasing disease activity was noted at least once and for 64% of patients in whom increasing disease activity was noted during 2 (of 4) 3-month periods within the year. Compared with self-report surveys, medical records substantially underreported performance on quality measures. CONCLUSION: The ACR-endorsed quality measures for RA can be assessed using available data sources. When both self-report and medical record data are used, adherence rates, designed to serve as minimum standards of care, were moderate or high for most measures. Prior to using indicators to compare quality across groups, specific strategies for operationalizing measures and for using accurate data sources to assess adherence to the measures should be defined.

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