Alberta Research Team Develops Key Indicators for Evaluating Centralized Intake Methods for Arthritis Sufferers

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An Alberta research team has developed what it believes is the first set of indicators that will reveal how centralized intake methods are performing for people with arthritis. Intake to diagnosis and treatment is viewed as crucial for arthritis sufferers because better access to these services leads to better patient outcomes. Centralized intake pools patients in a single queue to be assessed and prioritized for treatment based on their condition. This single-point-of-entry and prioritization model has been shown to reduce waiting times for care and to make health care services more effective.

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in Canada. The researchers developed a set of 28 key performance indicators (KPI) by which to evaluate centralized intake methods for people with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the two most common forms of arthritis. Many patients with OA and RA experience delays in access to diagnosis and treatment in Canada. The KPIs are likely to be relevant to centralized intake for other types of arthritis and other specialized areas of medical care, the researchers say. The findings are published in Arthritis Research and Therapy. Click here to read the article.

The work is part of a broader study to design and evaluate the optimal centralized intake system for Albertans with OA and RA. The study is being led by Dr. Deborah Marshall, professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, and ABJHI’s Director of Health Technology Assessment, and Dr. Linda Woodhouse, associate professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta.