What Rheumatologists Do When No One Is Looking

From the Seminar in Advanced Rheumatology 2009, New York:

When assessing 12-month mortality in rheumatoid disease, the data gathered with a 10-item questionnaire known as the RAPID 3 are as accurate as measurements of serum C reactive protein level, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, number of swollen or tender joints, and other components of the rheumatologist’s standard examination.

Better yet, the patient can complete the self-administered Routine Assessment of Patient Index Data (RAPID 3) or any other self-assessment questionnaire (the Multi-Dimensional Health Assessment Questionnaire [MDHAQ], from which the RAPID 3 is distilled, for instance) while waiting to see the rheumatologist, a practice that seems to get patients more involved in their own care.

Questionnaire findings can be entered in the patients’ electronic medical record—which has the two advantages of being at hand to document compliance with the six Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) standards for rheumatology issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the start of 2009 (and which seem to be the best kept secret in rheumatology) and for office-based research.

But when attendees at NYU’s seminar in advanced rheumatology were asked for a show of hands, few used self-assessment questionnaires, and even fewer had EMRs in place. Speakers urged rheumatologists to adopt office-based quality of care documentation (another use for the questionnaire data) and EMRs. The answer to what treatment works in rheumatologic diseases can be found in data generated by patient self -assessment.

Dr. Theodore Pincus told the audience: “Rheumatologists should be leading the way with functional assessments and not following diabetologists with [their heavy reliance on] lab tests [to assess patient well being].”

—Sally Koch Kubetin
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1 Comment

Filed under Internal Medicine, Practice Trends, Rheumatology

One response to “What Rheumatologists Do When No One Is Looking

  1. Thanks for posting this. This information really helps people that are suffering on arthritis.

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