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Quality of Care

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Health care quality is defined as "the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge" (Institute of Medicine, Crossing the Quality Chasm, 2001). Rheumatologists have a demonstrated commitment to providing high quality care for patients with rheumatologic conditions. Rheumatology providers support and conduct research, promote evidence-based medicine, and engage in data-driven practice improvement.

The "quality movement" has evolved considerably in the past decade. Increasingly, health care providers' focus on quality is matched by that of patients, payers, policymakers, and other stakeholders. The result is both internal and external pressure for rheumatologists and their care settings to demonstrate high quality care.

In these high-pressure times, it is crucial that rheumatologists retain a leadership position in defining the quality of rheumatologic care. ACR's quality efforts help support these goals. ACR's relevant programs and initiatives are briefly described below, and link to more information.

  • Practice Guidelines
    Clinical practice guidelines are systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances. ACR has developed and approved guidelines for multiple rheumatologic conditions.
  • Criteria for Rheumatic Diseases
    ACR develops classification, response, remission and other criteria for rheumatic diseases.
  • Quality Measures
    The ACR develops and approves quality measures, as well as resources to help rheumatology providers implement quality measurement in their practices.
  • ACR Rheumatology Clinical Registry (RCR)
    The ACR Rheumatology Clinical Registry is a free, easy-to-use tool developed to assist members in practice improvement, local population management, and efficient, successful participation in national quality programs (including PQRI and e-Prescribing).
  • Health Information Technology
    These pages include information and resources about details about EHR selection and implementation, the CMS EHR Incentive Program and the CMS e-Prescribing Program.
  • Physician Quality Reporting Initiative
    A summary of the CMS PQRI program for ACR members and their practice management staff. This summary includes links to the appropriate CMS pages.
  • Policy / Government Affairs
    ACR's Government Affairs Committee is working with Congress, CMS and other organizations that have a vested interest in the quality movement, to monitor and respond to quality-related legislation.
  • Recommendations for the Use of Musculoskeletal Ultrasonography in Rheumatology Clinical Practice