Improving infection screening in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases starting biologics

Aug. 9, 2023
Initiative is also being used by pharmacists.

The importance of screening patients for underlying chronic infections before initiating immunosuppressive medications is well known, yet clinician adherence to screening guidelines varies widely. In a new study, researchers developed an automated computerized decision-making support system in the form of a best practice advisory (BPA) and evaluated the impact of this new tool on pre-treatment screening.

The findings were published in Arthritis Care & Research.

The study examined 711 patients treated over three years before implementation of the BPA and 257 patients treated over two years post-BPA implementation at outpatient rheumatology practices at the Yale New Haven Health System (YNHH). Researchers found that the BPA implementation was associated with a 66% to 82% increase in screening for tuberculosis, a 60% to 79% increase in screening for hepatitis C, and a 51% to 70% increase in screening for hepatitis B.

Yale release