Expedient assessment (≤ 12 weeks) of patients suspected of having RA is beneficial as early diagnosis and management of RA confers a greater likelihood of achieving remission and less joint destruction. The goal of this project is to provide primary care practitioners (PCPs) with a rapid referral system to rheumatology specialists, thus facilitating early diagnosis and treatment of RA. The primary target population is the underserved ethnic minority community of the greater Washington DC area and the PCPs who serve this population. We believe both groups will directly benefit from our intervention. In order to evaluate the success of our project, we will evaluate the following outcomes: length of time between the PCP referral and rheumatology clinic visit, number of patients referred that have an RA diagnosis, number of patients initiated on DMARD therapy within 12 weeks of referral, difference in RA disease activity measures between patients diagnosed early (≤ 12weeks) vs. those accessing the routine referral system, and PCP satisfaction of utility and access to the referral system.
Howard University (HU) Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Early Diagnosis Clinic (HU-RAERC): A Quality Improvement Project for Early Recognition of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Early Treatment in RA