OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was twofold: (1) to determine how best to measure adherence with time-dependent quality indicators (QIs) related to laboratory monitoring, and (2) to assess the accuracy and efficiency of gathering QI adherence information from an electronic medical record (EMR). METHODS: A random sample of 100 patients were selected who had at least three visits with the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at Brigham and Women's Hospital Arthritis Center in 2005. Using the EMR, it was determined whether patients had been prescribed a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) (QI #1) and if patients starting therapy received appropriate baseline laboratory testing (QI #2). For patients consistently prescribed a DMARD, adherence with follow-up testing (QI #3) was calculated using three different methods, the Calendar, Interval and Rolling Interval METHOD: . RESULTS: It was found that 97% of patients were prescribed a DMARD (QI #1) and baseline tests were completed in 50% of patients (QI #2). For follow-up testing (QI #3), mean adherence was 60% for the Calendar Method, 35% for the Interval Method, and 48% for the Rolling Interval Method. Using the Rolling Interval Method, adherence rates were similar across drug and laboratory testing type. CONCLUSIONS: Results for adherence with laboratory testing QIs for DMARD use differed depending on how the QIs were measured, suggesting that care must be taken in clearly defining methods. While EMRs will provide important opportunities for measuring adherence with QIs, they also present challenges that must be examined before widespread adoption of these data collection methods.
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