As an epidemiologist with expertise in classification criteria and outcome measures for rheumatic diseases, as well as novel methodologies to address issues relevant to rheumatic diseases, Tuhina Neogi, MD, PhD, chief of rheumatology, Boston Medical Center, and professor of medicine and of epidemiology, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, is well positioned to take over the helm of the ACR Committee on Quality of Care (QOC). She has previously helped lead the development of new classification criteria, outcome measures and treatment guidelines for rheumatic diseases. In 2014, she received the ACR Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award for outstanding and promising independent contributions to research.
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In this Q&A, Dr. Neogi talked to The Rheumatologist (TR) about the QOC’s work and her plans and goals for leading the committee’s efforts over the next three years.
TR: What is the Committee on Quality of Care?
Dr. Neogi: The QOC oversees ACR activities related to criteria, clinical practice guidelines, guidance documents and quality measures. Stated another way, the QOC works with teams of researchers, clinicians and methodologists to define different rheumatic diseases, put forth recommendations about ideal clinical care of people with those diseases, and provide ways to measure whether the best care is being given. QOC members or designees also participate in non-ACR activities where these things are being done.
TR: What are your plans and goals for the Committee over the next year or two?
Dr. Neogi: The Committee underwent a significant reorganization in 2015 and since then has been very prolific, with 40 publications. Now it’s time to step back and conduct a thoughtful reevaluation—one that was planned for 2020 but postponed due to COVID-19—of where we’ve been and where we want to go next. That will be our focus over the next year or so, even as we continue to work on ongoing projects. This is an exciting time to be part of the QOC, helping shape the vision and focus of the important work done by the ACR.
TR: How did you get involved with the committee, and how did this lead to your becoming chair?
Dr. Neogi: Soon after I became a member of the Criteria Subcommittee of the QOC in 2008, the ACR and EULAR embarked on developing new classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis, and I was asked to join the team. This work resulted in the 2010 classification criteria, in which we implemented novel methodology. The methodological expertise I gained through this experience led to involvement in other ACR criteria projects, such as the gout classification criteria published in 2015, chairing the ACR’s Criteria Subcommittee (2012–15) and my initial term as a QOC member. I then became involved in ACR guideline work—gout, osteoarthritis—and helped develop quality measures, such as for gout. As I grew in my ACR QOC experience, including several leadership positions, I also gained leadership experience elsewhere in my professional life. After a several-year hiatus from the QOC, I rejoined the committee and then became chair.