Objective: Gout care is suboptimal because of lack of translation of knowledge into real-world practice, despite evidence-based guidelines. We have developed processes to ensure systematic care for gout patients and determined the predictors for achievement of a target serum uric acid (SUA) concentration of < 360 μmol/L in a prospective cohort of Asian gout patients requiring allopurinol therapy.
Methods: A 1-year clinical practice improvement project was undertaken using evidence-based guidelines and quality planning tools. Interventions included comprehensive patient education, enhanced telephone access, reappointments and refills, upward titration of allopurinol with no limitation specified by renal function, and increased frequency of visits until the target SUA concentration was achieved. The primary outcome was the time to achieve an SUA level of <360 μmol/L.
Results: We recruited 126 gout patients. The median time to achieving the target SUA concentration was 36.9 weeks [95% confidence interval (CI) 29.3-44.4]. Based on survival analysis, the proportion of patients achieving the target was 8.1% (95% CI 3.2-13.0), 40.6% (95% CI 31.4-50.8), and 72.0% (95% CI 61.2-82.8) at 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. On average, our patients who achieved the target were seen once every 2 months and achieved the target after a mean of 2.5 (SD = 1.1) visits. Frequency of follow-up visits and older patients not taking aspirin were independent predictors associated with achieving the target outcome, regardless of renal function.
Conclusions: Optimization of control of SUA is achievable, even in the setting of renal impairment, by redesigning and implementing processes involving changes in physician prescribing habits, enhanced nursing interventions, and patient empowerment and education.