The ACR has approved a set of evidence-based quality measures aimed at improving care and drug safety for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and gout.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and private insurers have begun to link payments for medical services with documentation of key quality measures in “pay-for-reporting” or “pay-for-performance” programs. The ACR has developed a Web-based clinical data management tool—the Rheumatology Clinical Registry (RCR)—that will enable rheumatologists to meet these reporting requirements more easily while also improving patient care. The ACR’s goal with the RCR has been to create a simple, user-friendly, Web-based management tool to be used in conjunction with patient visits that includes clinical reminders and is based on ACR-approved quality measures.
The ACR has partnered with Outcome Sciences, Inc., to build the RCR. Outcome is a national leader in developing patient registries, studies, quality-improvement programs, and integrated technologies for evaluating real-world outcomes.
RCR participants whose offices use paper charts will use a paper form during the office visit to document patient quality of care by answering questions that relate to specific rheumatic disease and/or drug monitoring measures. This information is then entered online and uploaded to a central databank, where it remains confidential. If offices are equipped to do so, the forms will also be available to use electronically while assessing patients. This is the ideal way to use the RCR, but the ACR recognizes that many offices are not yet equipped to do this, so the paper form will be provided as an alternative.
Once pertinent patient clinical data are loaded into the registry, individual prepopulated forms can be downloaded from the RCR prior to each follow-up visit, enabling a review of the medications, diagnostics, and exams that need to be performed and documented in that visit. The RCR will also allow physicians to report changes and updates as well as to evaluate results over time, including comparison to national benchmarks. Each data report will be anonymously and confidentially stored to enable secure patient population management. Physician performance for their patient populations will be reported to the physician, who can use this information to document his or her performance to payers. This process will also support recertification requirements because the RCR will be interoperable with the ACR performance improvement modules.
The RCR will be available in late spring, and members will receive more details via direct mail and e-mail by May. ACR members will also be able use the RCR and report their information to CMS for the 2009 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative.