The ACR Board of Directors also faced important IT issues and approved spending the necessary funds to build an IT infrastructure that aligns with the needs and goals of the ACR. This initiative included engaging an experienced consultant to fully assess the status quo and then help us develop a process to manage and modernize our systems. The process began with convening a working group of our fabulous staff to imagine and actualize the systems we need going forward, including migrating our association data to a modernized cloud-based server system.
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Explore This IssueNovember 2014
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We also hired a technical project manager to guide the process internally. We allocated substantial funds to re-architect (I have learned a lot of new words this year, too) our website and move to a new content management system. We are anticipating the debut of a website I am sure you will love. If all goes as planned, you will not be aware of the content management systems changes except to notice a better overall experience. It will make internal operations more efficient.
Given our need for top-to-bottom improvements in information technology and the costs associated with modernization, the Board approved expenditures over its proposed annual budget by more than a million dollars, funded from our accrued assets. This is a rare event in our history, but was necessary to provide the service you will need from the ACR.
The ACR also continued to build the RISE Registry by hiring a new partner to help us actualize this project. RISE has been envisioned, planned and built over the past several years. In June, we officially launched our registry. This is a major step forward. RISE promises a single data-entry system, helping our members assess individual compared with peer performance. It does this by gleaning important de-identified data about multiple patient variables and outcomes from the data you enter as you document your care of patients. As a certified registry, it can satisfy your requirements to report quality and outcomes to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It will serve as a repository of patient data that will be valuable not only to practices, but also for research. Please consider becoming part of this valuable asset. Visit the RISE information center at the Annual Meeting or contact RISE@rheumatology.org to learn more.
In addition to international diplomacy and technology, the ACR continues its routine business of Advancing Rheumatology! In the quality-of-care arena, the Board authorized new projects, including a pilot project to examine how to more effectively involve patients in guideline development; and development of new guidelines related to reproductive health, perioperative management of rheumatic medications in total joint arthroplasty and glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. We are also continuing our fruitful collaboration with EULAR on a project to develop new lupus classification criteria. We have sophisticated volunteers and staff who help create and validate vigorous, evidence-based recommendations for care, criteria for disease classification and several other projects.
The Board approved numerous updated position statements from the Committee on Government Affairs and the Committee on Rheumatologic Care. These statements clarify our policies and help us deal with the government, insurance companies and other entities. They are available to you on the ACR website. We also undertook the process of appointing Richard Bucala, MD, PhD, as the new editor of Arthritis & Rheumatology, and completed numerous other tasks.
I am so proud of how we have grown in sophistication and effectiveness in dealing with government. You have heard from me about the amazing success we had because our outstanding volunteers were in the right place at the right time, aided by our lobbying firm and RheumPAC, in delaying implementation of ICD-10. As you know, we also testified before a congressional committee on the Patient Access to Care bill and were the only medical professional organization to testify at that hearing.