Software may improve quality of life for patients with rheumatic disease

Patients with chronic rheumatic disease may benefit from an innovative computer program.
Patients with chronic rheumatic disease may benefit from an innovative computer program.

HealthDay News -- Software that aggregates, stores, and displays information may improve the quality of care for patients diagnosed with chronic rheumatic disease, results of a study published in Arthritis Care & Research suggests.

“Electronic health records (EHRs) are not optimized for chronic disease management,” noted Eric D. Newman, MD, of the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., and colleagues.

To improve the quality of care for patients with rheumatic disease, the investigators developed electronic data capture, aggregation, display, and documentation software and tested it among 6,725 patients over a two-year period.

The software integrated and reassembled information from a patient-completed touch screen questionnaire. Electronic health records filled out by care providers were reassembled into a series of actionable items. Core functions of the software measured trends over time, rheumatology-related demographics, and documentation for the patient and provider.

Of the patients and providers enrolled in the study, 86% adopted the software for use. There was a noted downward trend in chart review and documentation time, and a 26% increase in productivity.

Although pre implementation values were high, there was no change in patient satisfaction, activation, or adherence. There was a strong correlation between software use and disease control (P=0.0095); per quarter, there was a 3% relative increase in patients with low disease activity.

“Post implementation, significant improvements in quality of care, efficiency of care, and productivity were demonstrated,” concluded the researchers.

References

  1. Newman ED et al. Arthritis Care & Research. 2014; doi: 10.1002/acr.22479
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