Quality of care in childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus: Report of an intervention to improve cardiovascular and bone health screening

Emily A Smitherman, Bin Huang, Adam Furnier, Janalee Taylor, Mary Beth Burns, Hermine I Brunner, Esi M Morgan
Journal of Rheumatology 2019 September 1

OBJECTIVE: Initial benchmarking of childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (cSLE) quality indicators revealed suboptimal performance across multiple centers. Our aim was to improve cardiovascular and bone health screenings at a tertiary treatment center for cSLE. This included annual measurements of vitamin D, lipid profiles, and bone mineral density testing via dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA).

METHODS: Quality improvement methodology was applied to design and implement a standardized pre-visit planning process to electronically pend orders for needed screenings prior to a scheduled clinic visit. Process outcomes were measured using statistical process control charts. Univariate analyses were completed to assess patient-level factors.

RESULTS: During the study, 123 cSLE patients participated across 619 clinic visits. The percentage of patients with completed screenings improved from 54% to 92% for annual vitamin D, 55% to 84% for annual lipid profiles, and 57% to 78% for DXA, which was sustained for more than 1 year. Providers responded to a majority of abnormal results, and improvement in the average vitamin D level was observed over time. Higher levels of disease activity, damage, number of clinic visits, and screenings completed at baseline were observed in patients with all screenings completed at the end of the intervention.

CONCLUSION: Implementation of elements of the chronic illness care model for cSLE management improved performance of cardiovascular and bone health screenings, a step towards preventing long-term morbidity in cSLE. Our study also suggests that more patient interaction with the health system may promote successful completion of health maintenance screenings.

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