The Committee on Rheumatologic Care and the ideal practice task force are researching some of the new payment systems such as accountable care organizations and the patient-centered medical home to determine how they will affect rheumatologists. In light of these potential changes, these committees are developing products that will help physicians improve their practices, including a benchmark survey that will allow members to enter information from their practice and receive regional and national comparison data.
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Explore This IssueDecember 2010
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The Affordable Care Act includes provisions that affect medical education and the distribution of associated funds. The potential impact of this redistribution will be monitored by the Workforce and Training Committee to determine how our subspecialty can benefit from increased resources for rheumatology education.
Because the scope of work concerning the healthcare environment crosses so many committees, a task force will be appointed to coordinate ACR efforts in understanding the impact of the new Affordable Care Act and other federal policies on rheumatology practice, academic rheumatology, and our organization.
Improve Practice at the Site of Care
The mission of advancing rheumatology cannot be fully realized without also providing resources to help our members improve practice at the site of care. The multitudes of data generated daily in rheumatology practice hold great promise to help us better understand and improve clinical care. Registries are widely recognized as a successful way to gather this information.
The Rheumatology Clinical Registry (RCR), launched in 2009, is a free online tool for ACR members that integrates evidence-based quality measures and drug safety for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and gout. Already, more than 250 members have entered data on more than 9,000 patients into the RCR. We were successful from initiation in establishing the RCR as a means of reporting data to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) program, and both PQRI and CMS e-Prescribing reporting are available using the RCR in 2010.
Despite the RCR’s initial success, however, we recognize that registries must become seamless components of our overall health information technology infrastructure. The ACR is actively moving in that direction with a pilot of an electronic health record–enhanced version of the RCR, which will provide a mechanism for practice improvement, meeting external quality reporting requirements, and real-world research queries.
Focus on Pain Initiatives
It goes without saying that our primary motivation to advance rheumatology is to meet the needs of our patients. Almost all of our patients deal with pain on a regular basis. In fact, pain is the most common symptom of patients with rheumatic disorders and can occur in both inflammatory and noninflammatory conditions.1