“The ideal EHR would collect and measure quality measures at the point of care, trigger the rheumatologist with best practice alerts, and report outcomes to the reporting agencies,” said Dr. Kazi. The RCR helps to fill the gaps, providing members with quality reporting for several key health concerns, including osteoarthritis, RA, gout, osteoporosis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and drug safety, he added. The RCR is now in its fourth year, with data on 30,000 patients.
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Explore This IssueJanuary 2014
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Rheumatologists may access the RCR and record data through a secure portal on the ACR website. The ACR also is working on adapting the system to synchronize with existing EHR programs. Information collected in the RCR may be submitted to PQRS to help rheumatologists meet meaningful use requirements, and make the submission process less cumbersome. In 2011–2012, PQRS reports showed encouraging patient outcome improvements in key areas like disease activity and functional status, Dr. Kazi said. “The idea that whatever you measure improves over time is supported by this limited but encouraging data,” he added. “I think this information tells you where your gaps in quality are, and where you can make improvements.”
The ACR’s newer Rheumatology Informatics System for Effectiveness, or RISE, provides another opportunity for measuring quality data and improving health outcomes, Dr. Kazi said. In the future, RISE will have secure, cloud-based applications. Rheumatologists will be able to find data on patients who share their own patients’ particular diagnosis and disease-activity measures to help guide rheumatologic care, for example. As RISE evolves, the goal is to ensure consistency in rheumatology measures across many different sites. “The RCR already records quality measures in RA and other diseases, and this information can assist with patient care, measures quality reporting, and maintenance of certification,” Dr. Kazi said. “But RISE will be the next step.”
Susan Bernstein is a writer based in Atlanta.