Early in her medical training at UCLA, Jinoos Yazdany, MD, MPH, found an interest in tracking patient data to improve chronic disease care. Growing her passion for informatics and rheumatology has helped her shape a career trajectory that focuses on using health information technology (IT) to improve the outcomes of patients with chronic rheumatic diseases.
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As chief of the Division of Rheumatology at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital in San Francisco, Calif., and the Alice Betts Endowed Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Yazdany specializes in systemic lupus. She also co-directs the UCSF Rheumatology Quality and Informatics Lab, an interdisciplinary group that uses health services research, informatics and implementation science to inform national health care improvement initiatives.
Since 2014, Dr. Yazdany has continued to play an instrumental role in developing the ACR’s current version of the Rheumatology Informatics System for Effectiveness (RISE) registry.
“It’s been exciting to work with colleagues to develop the registry from the ground up,” she says. “Medicine has entered the digital age and it is more important than ever for the ACR and rheumatologists to create tools such as RISE that we need to take outstanding care of patients, while also contributing to research that helps expand our evidence base.”
Why RISE Matters
RISE pulls data directly from electronic health records rather than requiring manual data entry.
“The registry brings value to rheumatologists in several ways—for those who need to complete Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) reporting, RISE streamlines the process and provides intensive support for practices to succeed in the program,” she explains, noting that “the 100% positive payment adjustment for those participating in 2018 speaks for itself.”
The registry also allows the ACR to develop and implement rheumatology-specific quality measures rather than relying on primary care measures. In turn, rheumatologists can take advantage of analytic and population health management tools in RISE to see if they are adhering to current evidence-based practice and to benchmark their work against their peers.
“RISE also allows rheumatologists to contribute data toward research,” she adds. “As physicians who take care of relatively uncommon diseases, advancing the science and evidence base in rheumatology is something we are all motivated to do.”
Using RISE to Help Rheumatologists
Dr. Yazdany became chair of the ACR Registries and Health IT Committee (RHIT) in 2017. In this role, she works with ACR staff, colleagues, the ACR’s data analytic centers and the registry vendor to set the strategic direction of RISE and to help the registry develop new partnerships and programs that benefit rheumatology researchers and practices.
Through RHIT, Dr. Yazdany is leading several initiatives to provide beneficial new programs to participating practices.
In 2019, RHIT began piloting a program that allows rheumatologists to assign a free health coach to patients who are struggling to manage chronic rheumatoid arthritis. Another program will soon allow practices to participate in consented research studies.
RHIT has launched tools to standardize patient visit documentation and is working with major electronic health record vendors to customize software content to make documentation easier for rheumatologists.
The committee also established a Learning Collaborative that creates a monthly forum and offers expert, personalized advice for physicians who are working on instituting evidence-based practice and quality improvement projects. “There is so much exciting innovation going on with RISE,” Dr. Yazdany acknowledges. “It really feels like we are creating a wonderful national community to advance the practice of rheumatology.”
Carina Stanton is a freelance science journalist based in Denver.