Development of Cardiovascular Quality Indicators for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Results from an International Expert Panel Using a Novel Online Process

Published in: The Journal of Rheumatology, 2015

by Claire E. Barber, Deborah A. Marshall, Nanette Alvarez, John Mancini, Diane Lacaille, Stephanie Keeling, J. Antonio Aviña-Zubieta, Dmitry Khodyakov, Cheryl Barnabe, Peter Faris, et al.

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OBJECTIVE: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have a high risk of premature cardiovascular disease (CVD). We developed CVD quality indicators (QI) for screening and use in rheumatology clinics. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted of the literature on CVD risk reduction in RA and the general population. Based on the best practices identified from this review, a draft set of 12 candidate QI were presented to a Canadian panel of rheumatologists and cardiologists (n = 6) from 3 academic centers to achieve consensus on the QI specifications. The resulting 11 QI were then evaluated by an online modified-Delphi panel of multidisciplinary health professionals and patients (n = 43) to determine their relevance, validity, and feasibility in 3 rounds of online voting and threaded discussion using a modified RAND/University of California, Los Angeles Appropriateness. RESULTS: Response rates for the online panel were 86%. All 11 QI were rated as highly relevant, valid, and feasible (median rating ≥ 7 on a 1–9 scale), with no significant disagreement. The final QI set addresses the following themes: communication to primary care about increased CV risk in RA; CV risk assessment; defining smoking status and providing cessation counseling; screening and addressing hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes; exercise recommendations; body mass index screening and lifestyle counseling; minimizing corticosteroid use; and communicating to patients at high risk of CVD about the risks/benefits of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. CONCLUSION: Eleven QI for CVD care in patients with RA have been developed and are rated as highly relevant, valid, and feasible by an international multidisciplinary panel.

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