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Study highlights ways to boost RA care quality.
Clinicians could improve outcomes in their patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by paying attention to certain markers of care quality, such as early referral to certified rheumatologists and prescribing standard drugs for RA, new research suggested.
Tellingly, the analysis of insurance claims data covering more than half a million RA patients found that fewer than half had been referred to a rheumatologist within 1 year of initial diagnosis, according to Kevin C. Chung, MD, MS, of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues — and other quality markers were met even less often.
In fact, management in fully 31.3% met none of six care quality markers examined in the study, reported in JAMA Network Openopens in a new tab or window. The six were derived from Arthritis Foundation recommendationsopens in a new tab or window and included:
- Rheumatologist referral
- Prescription of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) coupled with hepatitis B screening
- Hand x-rays in first year after diagnosis
- Annual physical exam
- Annual lab testing
- Referral for occupational or physical therapy or hand surgery