High Adherence to System-Level Performance Measures for Rheumatoid Arthritis in a National Early Arthritis Cohort Over Eight Years Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To assess adherence to 3 system-level performance measures in a national early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cohort. METHODS: Patients enrolled in the Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort (2007-2015) who met 1987 or 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism criteria with <1 year of symptom duration and ≥1 year of followup after enrollment were included. Performance measures assessed were the percentage of RA patients seen in yearly followup, and the number of gaps between visits of >12 or >14 months, the percentage of RA patients treated with a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), and days from RA diagnosis to initiation of a DMARD. Results are shown stratified by enrollment year to assess for temporal changes in performance. RESULTS: A total of 1,763 early RA patients were included (mean age 54 years, 73% female, and 82% white). At enrollment, mean ± SD disease duration was 6 ± 3 months, and Disease Activity Score in 28 joints was 5.1 ± 1.5. Over 8 years, the proportion of patients seen in annual followup declined from 100% to 91%. Over followup, 42% of patients had 0 gaps in care of >12 months, and 64% had 0 gaps >14 months. The percentage of DMARD-treated early RA patients was and remained high (95-87%), and the percentage receiving DMARDs within 14 days of diagnosis was 75%. Median time-to-DMARD therapy was 1 day, indicating DMARDs were initiated at diagnosis (90th percentile 93 days). CONCLUSION: There was evidence of high adherence to system-level performance measures in this early RA cohort following a protocol. Small declines in performance were noted with increasing length of patient followup. Our findings are useful for performance measure benchmarking.


  • Haaland, Derek Allan
  • Barber, Claire EH
  • Schieir, Orit
  • Lacaille, Diane
  • Marshall, Deborah A
  • Barnabe, Cheryl
  • Hazlewood, Glen
  • Thorne, J Carter
  • Ahluwalia, Vandana
  • Bartlett, Susan J
  • Boire, Gilles
  • Haraoui, Boulos
  • Hitchon, Carol
  • Keystone, Edward
  • Tin, Diane
  • Pope, Janet E
  • Denning, Lisa
  • Bykerk, Vivian P

publication date

  • June 2018