Health administrative data can be a valuable tool for disease surveillance and research. Few studies have rigorously evaluated the accuracy of administrative databases for identifying rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Our aim was to validate administrative data algorithms to identify RA patients in Ontario, Canada.
We performed a retrospective review of a random sample of 450 patients from 18 rheumatology clinics. Using rheumatologist-reported diagnosis as the reference standard, we tested and validated different combinations of physician billing, hospitalization, and pharmacy data.
One hundred forty-nine rheumatology patients were classified as having RA and 301 were classified as not having RA based on our reference standard definition (study RA prevalence 33%). Overall, algorithms that included physician billings had excellent sensitivity (range 94-100%). Specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) were modest to excellent and increased when algorithms included multiple physician claims or specialist claims. The addition of RA medications did not significantly improve algorithm performance. The algorithm of "(1 hospitalization RA code ever) OR (3 physician RA diagnosis codes [claims] with =1 by a specialist in a 2-year period)" had a sensitivity of 97%, specificity of 85%, PPV of 76%, and negative predictive value of 98%. Most RA patients (84%) had an RA diagnosis code present in the administrative data within ±1 year of a rheumatologist's documented diagnosis date.
We demonstrated that administrative data can be used to identify RA patients with a high degree of accuracy. RA diagnosis date and disease duration are fairly well estimated from administrative data in jurisdictions of universal health care insurance.
We compared variations among Canadian provinces in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) initiating anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy.
Data were obtained from the Optimization of Humira trial (OH) and from the Ontario Biologics Research Initiative (OBRI). Baseline characteristics were compared between regions: Ontario (ON), Quebec (QC), and other provinces (OTH). We compared Ontario OH to OBRI patients who were initiating anti-TNF therapy.
In 300 OH patients, mean age was 54.8 years (13.3). There were 151 (50.3%) ON patients, 57 from QC (19%), and 92 from OTH (30.7%). Regional differences were seen in the number of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) ever taken (ON: 3.8 ± 1.4, QC: 3.1 ± 1.1, OTH: 3.3 ± 1.4; p
To estimate, from a public payer's perspective, the 5-year cost effectiveness of adding leflunomide (LEF) to a sequence of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) representative of a typical rheumatoid arthritis (RA) management approach adopted by Canadian rheumatologists.
A DMARD sequence including LEF was compared with one excluding it, using a 5-year simulation model where patients with RA cycle through different treatment regimens. Data were obtained through a systematic literature search (drug withdrawal rates, number and type of adverse events, American College of Rheumatology 20% responder status) and separately conducted surveys (choice of DMARD sequence, management of adverse events). Costs for adverse event management were calculated using the Ontario Schedule of Benefits, and monitoring costs were calculated according to official Canadian product monograph recommendations. Wholesale prices of all drugs were adjusted by the allowable markup and prescription fees. Utilities (as measured by the standard gamble [SG] and rating scale [RS] techniques) were obtained from 482 patients who participated in a 1-year randomized controlled trial that compared LEF, methotrexate, and placebo. Costs and utilities were discounted by 3%. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis was performed.
Adding LEF to a conventional strategy of DMARDs increased the 5-year management costs by $1,231 compared with the strategy without LEF, which results in a cost-effectiveness ratio of $13,096 per additional year of response to treatment, and cost-utility ratios of $54,229 (RS) and $71,988 (SG) per quality-adjusted life-year gained.
Adding LEF as a new option to a conventional sequence of DMARDs extends the time patients may benefit from DMARD therapy at a reasonable cost effectiveness and cost utility. LEF data are limited to clinical trials; data from observational studies would be needed to corroborate these findings.
To measure the adherence to 3 radiography guidelines for low back pain in chiropractic teaching clinics.
Evidence-based guidelines for low back pain suggest that plain radiography should be restricted to patients with suspected serious disease. Among primary healthcare providers who can request radiographs, chiropractors are thought to have utilization rates that exceed what is recommended by practice guidelines. It is uncertain whether this gap between evidence and practice begins in undergraduate training.
We screened 1241 consecutive patients with a new episode of low back pain who presented to any of the 6 out-patient teaching clinics of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College between January 2004 and September 2004. We collected information about red flags and radiography recommendations from patients and chiropractic trainees using self-administered questionnaires. Radiography recommendations were compared with criteria used in 3 radiography guidelines. Adherence was measured as the proportion of patients without red flags who were not recommended for radiography.
Of the 503 eligible patients, 448 (89.1%) agreed to participate in the study. Radiography was recommended for 12.3% of patients. According to the selected radiography guidelines, the proportion of patients with red flags ranged from 45.3% to 70.5%. The proportion of patients without red flags who were not recommended for radiography ranged from 89.4% (95% confidence interval, 85.5%-93.2%) to 94.7% (95% confidence interval, 90.9%-98.5%) for the selected guidelines.
The results suggest a strong adherence to radiography guidelines for patients with a new episode of low back pain who presented to chiropractic teaching clinics. Although a high proportion of patients had red flags, radiography utilization was lower than rates reported in previous studies suggesting that adherence to guidelines may help prevent unnecessary radiography.
To test the reproducibility of the finding that early intensive care for whiplash injuries is associated with delayed recovery.
We analyzed data from a cohort study of 1,693 Saskatchewan adults who sustained whiplash injuries between July 1, 1994 and December 31, 1994. We investigated 8 initial patterns of care that integrated type of provider (general practitioners, chiropractors, and specialists) and number of visits (low versus high utilization). Cox models were used to estimate the association between patterns of care and time to recovery while controlling for injury severity and other confounders.
Patients in the low-utilization general practitioner group and those in the general medical group had the fastest recovery even after controlling for important prognostic factors. Compared with the low-utilization general practitioner group, the 1-year rate of recovery in the high-utilization chiropractic group was 25% slower (adjusted hazard rate ratio [HRR] 0.75, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.54-1.04), in the low-utilization general practitioner plus chiropractic group the rate was 26% slower (HRR 0.74, 95% CI 0.60-0.93), and in the high-utilization general practitioner plus chiropractic combined group the rate was 36% slower (HRR 0.64, 95% CI 0.50-0.83).
The observation that intensive health care utilization early after a whiplash injury is associated with slower recovery was reproduced in an independent cohort of patients. The results add to the body of evidence suggesting that early aggressive treatment of whiplash injuries does not promote faster recovery. In particular, the combination of chiropractic and general practitioner care significantly reduces the rate of recovery.
To describe early rheumatologic management for newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in Canada.
A retrospective cohort of 339 randomly selected patients with RA diagnosed from 2001-2003 from 18 rheumatology practices was audited between 2005-2007.
The most frequent initial disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) included hydroxychloroquine (55.5%) and methotrexate (40.1%). Initial therapy with multiple DMARD (15.6%) or single DMARD and corticosteroid combinations (30.7%) was infrequent. Formal assessment measures were noted infrequently, including the Health Assessment Questionnaire (34.6%) and Disease Activity Score for 28 joints (8.9%).
Initial pharmacotherapy is consistent with guidelines from the period. The infrequent reporting of multiple DMARD combinations and formal assessment measures has implications for current clinical management and warrants contemporary reassessment.
To compare disease-related medical care and productivity costs, and utilities, in 482 patients with rheumatoid arthritis randomised to receive leflunomide, methotrexate or placebo during a 12-month period.
Prospective pharmacoeconomic analysis of a 1-year randomised double-blind trial set in North America.
Societal and the Ontario Ministry of Health.
Information on healthcare resources, out-of-pocket expenses, loss of working time and time spent on chores, related to the disease or the medication, were collected at 4-week intervals and at study discontinuation. Rating scale and standard gamble (SG) utilities (0 = worse; 100 = best) were collected at baseline and at 6 and 12 months or study exit. Medical care costs in Canadian dollars (Can dollars) were calculated using Ontario reimbursement schedules. US patients' expenses were converted to Can dollars using 1995 purchasing power parity. Lost wages were calculated by age and gender according to 1995 Canadian wage data. All costs were adjusted to 1999 Can dollars and arithmetic mean costs were compared using the nonparametric bootstrap. Analysis of covariance was performed to compare utilities between groups.
Mean (standard deviation) rating scale values and SG utilities, respectively, for leflunomide, methotrexate and placebo were 67.7 (18.0), 64.8 (18.1) and 57.5 (9.2), and 80.2 (22.1), 83.2 (18.0) and 77.0 (20.5). Both leflunomide and methotrexate had higher rating scale values (p
To describe the longterm effectiveness and safety of etanercept in Canadian patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), treated over 24 months in clinical practice.
Patients with active PsA (= 3 tender and = 3 swollen joints) were recruited from 22 centers. Etanercept was administered at 50 mg/week subcutaneously. In addition to clinical assessment of skin and joint disease, conducted at baseline and at Months 6, 12, 18, and 24, regular patient interviews were conducted by telephone. Patient responses related to health status, disability, and work productivity were scored using the patient global assessment tool, the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), the Health and Labour Questionnaire (HLQ), and the Fatigue Severity Scale.
Out of 110 patients, 71 (65%) maintained etanercept treatment through the end of our study. All clinical measures of disease severity, including joint tenderness/pain, joint swelling, and Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score, improved significantly between baseline and Month 6 of etanercept treatment and remained constant thereafter. By the end of our study, 79% of patients achieved a Psoriatic Arthritis Response Criteria response, and 56% of patients achieved a 0.5-point improvement on HAQ, indicating clinically significant improvement in disability; 14% of patients finished our study free of disability (HAQ = 0). Patients' work productivity and fatigue improved significantly in parallel with these clinical and functional improvements.
Continuous treatment with etanercept over 2 years in a clinical setting improved clinical symptoms of PsA while reducing fatigue, improving work productivity, and ameliorating or eliminating disability.
To compare the primary therapist model (PTM), provided by a single rheumatology-trained primary therapist, with the traditional treatment model (TTM), provided by a physical therapy (PT) and/or occupational therapy (OT) generalist, for treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Eligible patients were adults requiring rehabilitation treatment who had not received PT/OT in the past 2 years. Participants were randomized to the PTM or TTM group. The primary outcome was defined as the proportion of clinical responders who experienced a > or =20% improvement in 2 of the following measures from baseline to 6 months: Health Assessment Questionnaire, pain visual analog scale, and Arthritis Community Research and Evaluation Unit RA Knowledge Questionnaire.
Of 144 consenting patients, 33 (10 PTM participants, 23 TTM participants) dropped out without completing any followup assessment, leaving 111 for analysis (63 PTM participants, 48 TTM participants). The majority were women (PTM 87.3%, TTM 79.2%), with a mean age of 54.2 years and 56.8 years for the PTM and TTM groups, respectively. Average disease duration was 10.6 years and 13.2 years for each group, respectively. At 6 months, 44.4% of patients in the PTM group were clinical responders versus 18.8% in the TTM group (chi(2) = 8.09, P = 0.004).
Compared with the TTM, the PTM was associated with better outcomes in patients with RA. The results, however, should be interpreted with caution due to the high dropout rate in the TTM group.
Epidemiologic assessments of sufficiently large populations are required in order to obtain robust estimates of disease prevalence and incidence, particularly when exploring the influence of various factors (age, sex, calendar time). We undertook this study to describe the epidemiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) over the past 15 years.
We used the Ontario Rheumatoid Arthritis administrative Database (ORAD), a validated population-based research database of all Ontarians with RA. The ORAD records were linked with census data to calculate crude and age and sex-standardized prevalence and incidence rates from 1996 to 2010. Vital statistics were used to estimate annual all-cause mortality during the study period.
As of 2010, there were 97,499 Ontarians with RA, corresponding to a cumulative prevalence of 0.9%. Age and sex-standardized RA prevalence increased steadily over time from 473 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 469-478) per 100,000 population (0.49%) in 1996 to 784 (95% CI 779-789) per 100,000 population (0.9%) in 2010. Age and sex-standardized incidence per 100,000 population ranged from 62 (95% CI 60-63) in 1996 to 54 (95% CI 52-55) in 2010. All-cause mortality decreased by a relative 21.4% since 1996.
Over a 15-year period, we observed an increase in RA prevalence over time. This rise may be attributed to the increasing time to ascertain cases (which may have been latent in the population during earlier years of the study), increasing survival, and/or an increase in the aging background population. Incidence appears to be stable.