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8 reasons why rheumatologists should collect patient self-report data in routine clinical care

8 reasons why rheumatologists should collect patient self-report data in routine clinical care

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

I freely admit that I don't. Not yet.

This is an open discussion I'm having with myself and my team. We should collect this patient data, and I lean towards the simplicity of the RAPID-3 (read about & download it here).

The problem is the logistics of actually handing out and getting this questionnaire filled in BJC Health's particular setting. Our rooms are frequented by many more patients that those seeing the rheumatologists. Our multidisciplinary, multi-practitioner setting means we have to think a little more carefully about introducing a global initiative due to the burden on the administrative staff & the different relevance to different subsets of patients.

But that's for us to work out.

Collecting patient self-report data is useful because:

  1. The data patients report correlates significantly with the data doctors collect - joint counts, ESR, and X-ray changes
  2. It is more reproducible than joint counts, lab results and X-ray scoring systems
  3. It's as useful as measures such as the ACR20/50/70 or DAS used in clinical trials
  4. It's very relevant to the patient and their families
  5. It better predicts work disability, premature death, costs of the disease, the need for joint replacement
  6. It saves time for patient and doctor
  7. The data documents disease status and provides a measurement that will allow for comparison from one visit to another
  8. It should help your rheumatologist to be a more effective and hopefully, understanding doctor

I'm a fan. It's going to happen.

I'd really love to hear your experience with using patient questionnaires, either as the rheumatologist or as the patient.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
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