AIM modules provide a tool for physicians seeking a quality-improvement program and a way to meet new ACGME competencies or the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Maintenance of Certification Program requirements.
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Explore This IssueMay 2007
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AIM is a Web-based self-evaluation tool that guides the user through medical chart abstraction of de-identified data. The questions, based on rheumatology measures and guidelines, generate a report that enables physicians to:
- Reflect on practice performance data;
- Identify strengths and areas for improvement;
- Develop and implement improvement plans;
- Assess the chart re-measurement effects; and
- Report changes.
The ACR released its first AIM practice improvement module, “AIM: Rheumatoid Arthritis,” during the 2006 annual meeting.
Fight Fatigue in Arthritis Patients—As a Team
It’s like having the flu every day.” That sentiment, voiced by a child with juvenile RA, offers a vivid description of what it can be like to cope with the fatigue brought on by rheumatic disease.
“Fatigue is a symptom reported by children with polyarticular arthritis, as well as adults with RA, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, primary Sjögren’s syndrome, and other rheumatic diseases,” says Geri Neuberger, RN, EdD, professor of nursing at the University of Kansas School of Nursing in Lawrence. On the ARHP June 14 audioconference, Neuberger will present research evidence of clinical and psychosocial factors associated with fatigue and recommend research-backed interventions to reduce fatigue.
Fatigue can greatly affect a patient’s quality of life, so it is important for health professionals and rheumatologists to learn more about how to help patients manage it. Neuberger has conducted clinical research on fatigue—one of the many sequelae of rheumatic disease that can be difficult to manage.
A key to coping with fatigue is managing—and maximizing—the energy you do have. A team approach is optimal. “The head member of the team is the individual with the rheumatic disease, who decides each day what actions she or he will take to control fatigue and other symptoms,” says Neuberger.
Neuberger will review effective, research-supported interventions to managing fatigue. Beyond medical interventions, such as checking thyroid activity and treating the primary and co-morbid conditions, consulting a dietician can help a patient who is over- or underweight. A social worker, psychologist, nurse, occupational therapist, or physical therapist can help a patient adjust to life with a chronic illness, complete paperwork, get medications, balance rest and exercise, and manage other tasks.
Using these approaches to improve a patient’s energy levels can have significant benefits. Neuberger believes that addressing fatigue can help foster treatment compliance—in part because patients can easily track this symptom. The audioconference offers participants a unique opportunity for a comprehensive summary of the research that has been done.