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

Academic Article


  • 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 through dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Methods. Quality improvement methodology was applied to design and implement a standardized previsit planning process to electronically entered and saved 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 patients with cSLE 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 toward preventing longterm morbidity in cSLE. Our study also suggests that more patient interaction with the healthcare system may promote successful completion of health maintenance screenings.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Smitherman EA; Huang B; Furnier A; Taylor J; Burns MB; Brunner HI; Morgan EM
  • Start Page

  • 1506
  • End Page

  • 1513
  • Volume

  • 47
  • Issue

  • 10