Rheumatoid arthritis quality measures and radiographic progression

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2014 Aug;44(1):9-13. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2014.01.003. Epub 2014 Jan 25.


Objective: Documentation of quality measures (QMs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is used as a surrogate for measure of quality of care, but the association of this documentation with radiographic outcomes is uncertain. We examined documentation of RA QMs, for disease activity and functional status and the association with radiographic outcomes.

Methods: Data were analyzed for 438 RA patients in a longitudinal cohort with complete data on van der Heijde-modified Total Sharp Score (TSS). All rheumatologist (N = 18) notes in the electronic medical record during a 24-month period were reviewed for RA QMs. Any mention of disease activity categorized as low, moderate, or high was considered documentation of the QM for disease activity. Functional status QM documentation included any mention of the impact of RA on function. Change in TSS was quantified with progression defined as ≥1 unit per year. We compared percent of visits with an RA QM documented and mean change in TSS.

Results: The mean age in the cohort was 56.9 years, disease duration was 10.8 years, baseline DAS28 score was 3.8 (±1.6), 67.7% were seropositive, and 33.9% used a biologic DMARD. Radiographic progression was observed in 28.5%. Disease activity was documented for 29.0% of patient visits and functional status in 74.7%; neither had any significant relationship to mean TSS change (both P > 0.10).

Conclusion: The documentation of RA QMs was infrequent and not associated with radiographic outcomes over 24 months.

Keywords: Quality measures; Radiographic progression; Rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Radiography
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Antirheumatic Agents