In August, the ACR released a new resource for providers who treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA): the RA Measures Toolkit.
“This toolkit is the first national resource available for rheumatologists to guide the effective implementation, collection and use of disease activity and functional status outcomes for people with RA,” says Jinoos Yazdany, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and chief of rheumatology at San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and one of the lead authors of the RA Measures Toolkit. “It is a compilation of the rheumatology community’s best practices and innovations in collecting RA outcomes.”
Supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, the toolkit offers a wealth of resources, such as training guides for medical assistants who are administering RA outcome surveys (e.g., RAPID-3, PROMIS-PF or patient global assessments), sample workflows that rheumatologists are using in different electronic health record (EHR) systems and videos featuring best practices from rheumatologists who already collect these data. The toolkit also includes copies of the ACR-recommended RA outcome measures, including Spanish and Chinese translations.
A Team Effort
In the past, the ACR noted gaps can develop when quality measures are released. One reported issue is that clinicians may be unsure how to implement quality measures and their required surveys in practice. The collection of patient-reported outcomes and survey data can be overwhelming.
The UCSF team conducted more than a dozen interviews to identify resources needed to successfully gather disease activity and functional status outcomes. These interviews included questions addressing patient concerns and garnering buy-in on why data are needed, the use of technology to capture patient responses and how to generate needed data in EHRs. The team then collaborated with rheumatologists and practices to create workflows and videos highlighting the identified, successful data collection methods.
Main Toolkit Features
Standardized RA Outcome Measurement
It is important for rheumatologists to use standardized outcome measures for assessing disease activity and functional status for people with RA. Using these resources helps ensure that patient outcomes are systematically monitored and optimized. These data can then be used for ACR-developed quality measures that rheumatologists can use to succeed in the Quality Payment Program.
“Further, EHR data generated can be used to answer critical research questions that advance RA knowledge,” Dr. Yazdany says. “Using standardized measures helps to gather consistent and comparable data, which ultimately facilitates better care and research.”