Objective: Although cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), CVD risks are not being assessed frequently and systematically in RA. We implemented an electronic medical record (EMR)-based reminder in a tertiary care center and assessed the effects of this intervention on CVD risk screening by rheumatologists and primary care providers.
Methods: The EMR reminder was implemented in December 2013 and included the most recent value and target ranges for body mass index, blood pressure (BP), and lipid profiles. It was displayed for every rheumatology and primary care visit for all patients with the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code for RA (714.0). Lipid screening rates, as well as changes in BP and obesity rates were compared pre- and postimplementation. Factors associated with lipid screening postimplementation were assessed using multivariate logistic regression.
Results: A total of 138 and 112 RA patients were seen in the outpatient clinics pre- and postimplementation, respectively. The demographic characteristics were similar in the pre- and postimplementation groups. Lipid screening rates were 50% preimplementation and 46% postimplementation (P = 0.58). There were no significant improvements in BP or obesity rates postimplementation. Factors associated with the higher odds of lipid screening included older age and history of diabetes mellitus.
Conclusion: Implementing an EMR reminder did not improve CVD risk screening among RA patients. Future research is needed to identify and address barriers to CVD screening, and to educate patients and providers about RA-related risks.
© 2016, American College of Rheumatology.