January 09, 2018
1 min read

Electronic medical records effective in assessing quality of gout care

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Mary A. De Vera

Electronic medical records were effective in helping physicians analyze quality of care indicators for gout, and could lead to improved care and outcomes for patients, according to findings published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.

“In this study, we demonstrated potential uses of [electronic medical records (EMRs)] – both research and clinical - beyond capture of information on encounters of care,” Mary A. De Vera, PhD, of the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, told Healio Rheumatology. “Given the growing popularity of EMRs, we think it is important to demonstrate such uses which have further implications for improving care for patients.”

To determine if 10 established gout quality of care indicators could be expressed using relevant EMR data, and whether EMRs could help physicians assess the disease, the researchers analyzed data for 125 patients from three community rheumatology practices in Vancouver. Each patient visited one of the three practices between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2013.

The researchers expressed each indicator in terms of potential EMR variables, which could then be used to identify which cases are relevant to which indicators. They then analyzed deidentified EMR data on gout diagnosis, medications, laboratory tests, radiological tests and clinical notes, calculating the amount of available data for each indicator.

According to the researchers, there were enough data present in the EMRs to express seven out of 10 published and validated quality of care indicators for gout, with 69% data availability. In addition, the researchers were able to use EMR data to assess six therapy-related gout indicators, with 83% data availability, and one counseling-related indicator, with 8% data availability. Diagnostic codes and prescription medication data in the EMRs provided the highest percent of data availability.

“It was possible to assess seven out of 10 published and validated quality of care indicators for gout using EMR data; these quality of care indicators largely represented processes of medication use, namely urate-lowering therapies or anti-inflammatory agents among gout patients,” De Vera said. “By demonstrating the utility of routinely used EMRs for the assessment of quality of care indicators for gout, this study may have implications for helping improve the quality of care for gout, which is known to be suboptimal.” – by Jason Laday

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.