Quality of Care for Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Data From the American College of Rheumatology RISE Registry

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2022 Feb;74(2):179-186. doi: 10.1002/acr.24446. Epub 2021 Dec 27.


Objective: Although multiple national quality measures focus on the management and safety of rheumatoid arthritis, few measures address the care of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Our objective was to apply a group of quality measures relevant to the care of patients with SLE, and we used the American College of Rheumatology's Rheumatology Informatics System for Effectiveness (RISE) registry to assess nationwide variations in care.

Methods: The data derived from RISE and included patients who had ≥2 visits with SLE codes ≥30 days apart in 2017-2018. We calculated performance on 5 quality measures: renal disease screening, blood pressure assessment and management, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) prescribing, safe dosing for HCQ, and prolonged glucocorticoid use at doses of >7.5 mg/day. We reported performance on these measures at the practice level. We used logistic regression to assess independent predictors of performance after adjusting for sociodemographic and utilization factors.

Results: We included 27,567 unique patients from 186 practices; 91.7% were female and 48% White, with a mean age of 53.5 ± 15.2 years. Few patients had adequate screening for the development of renal manifestations (39.5%). Although blood pressure assessment was common (94.4%), a meaningful fraction of patients had untreated hypertension (17.7%). Many received HCQ (71.5%), but only 62% at doses of ≤5.0 mg/kg/day. Some received at least moderate-dose steroids for ≥90 days (18.5%). We observed significant practice variation on every measure.

Conclusion: We found potential gaps in care for patients with SLE across the US. Although some performance variation may be explained by differences in disease severity, dramatic differences suggest that developing quality measures to address important health care processes in SLE may improve care.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Registries*
  • Rheumatology / standards
  • Rheumatology / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States