Primary Care Screening and Comorbidity Management in Rheumatoid Arthritis in Ontario, Canada
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OBJECTIVE: Quality measurement for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients has largely focused on care provided by rheumatologists. Our aim was to develop and assess quality measures related to the screening and management of comorbidity in RA patients in primary care. METHODS: We used the primary care Electronic Medical Record Administrative data Linked Database in Ontario, Canada. We harmonized Canadian general population and RA clinical recommendations to develop and assess screening, process, and outcome measures. For each RA patient, 10 non-RA patients were matched by age and sex. Stratified analyses were performed, comparing patients with RA to those without RA, to assess the performance of quality measures. RESULTS: We compared 1,405 RA patients to 14,050 matched non-RA patients (72.8% female; mean age 62.5 years). Compared to non-RA patients, RA patients more frequently had influenza (44.9% versus 40.0%) and pneumococcal (40.4% versus 34.1%) vaccinations and bone mineral density testing (67.4% versus 58.1%). Herpes zoster vaccinations were less frequent among RA patients (13.8% versus 19.5%), as was screening for cervical cancer (58.6% versus 64.0%). No significant differences were observed between RA and non-RA patients in screenings for breast (70.7% versus 73.8%) or colorectal (31.7% versus 34.5%) cancers. Only a quarter of RA patients had a comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment. No definitive differences were detected in the management of patients who had co-occurring cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus. CONCLUSION: For both RA and non-RA patients, compliance with Canadian recommendations for preventive medical services and screening for comorbid conditions in primary care was less than optimal. This indicates key targets for improvement.
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