Rheumatoid Arthritis Centre confirmed as a finalist for HSJ award


Posted on Monday 17 June 2013

Our Rheumatoid Arthritis Centre has today (Friday 14 June) been named as a finalist for the Health Services Journal’s award for efficiency in information technology.

The team upgraded an existing IT software system to record patients’ treatment and outcomes during each visit. Regularly reviewing the data has enabled them to greatly improve efficiency and care.

Dr Bruce Kirkham, the consultant rheumatologist leading the initiative, says: “This is a great example of the Trust doing more with a simple system; we haven’t had to buy in specialist software. The result is that our quality of care has significantly improved in the last six years.”

“52% of our patients – including those who have had their condition for a number of years – are in remission or have low disease activity, which is fantastic. Six years ago the figure was 32%. This is a huge improvement, and our better use of IT has played a key role. It allows us to look at all our patient outcomes, and in the early days it gave us an important wake up call.”

As a bonus the system also saves clinical and administrative time as it automatically generates content for GP and patient letters, rather than the letters having to be dictated and then transcribed.

The award entry followed a visit by the British Society of Rheumatology to evaluate the RA Centre programme as an example of best practice.

The final judging takes place on Thursday 11 July.

The RA Centre provides state of the art care for patients with rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. It was set up with a project grant awarded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity in 2004. A critical feature is the use of an electronic record during each consultation, which notes outcomes and generates patient letters. Importantly the system allows our clinicians to analyse outcomes so they can monitor results and quality, and continually improve performance.

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