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Bull NYU Hosp Jt Dis. 2011;69(3):201-14.

MDHAQ/RAPID3 scores: quantitative patient history data in a standardized "scientific" format for optimal assessment of patient status and quality of care in rheumatic diseases.

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Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine and NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, New York, USA.


Quantitative measurement according to a laboratory test such as hemoglobin A1c or creatinine provides a "gold standard" for care of every individual with a specific diagnosis. By contrast, no single "gold standard" quantitative measure is available in rheumatic diseases. Laboratory tests are limited, and clinical decisions are based more on patient history and physical examination than laboratory tests. A quantitative patient history is provided by a self-report questionnaire as standardized, "scientific" data to compare from one visit to the next. Patient questionnaires for usual clinical care emphasize feasibility, acceptability to patients and physicians, and clinical utility, which are not considered in research questionnaires. Development of a multidimensional health assessment questionnaire (MDHAQ) over 27 years is seen as a continuous quality improvement (CQI) rather than research activity, to account for all rather than a few selected patients for a research study. Both the traditional HAQ and MDHAQ are 2-page questionnaires, easily completed by patients in 5 to 10 minutes, although scoring a HAQ disability index (HAQ-DI) requires 42 seconds, compared to 5 seconds for an MDHAQ/RAPID3. The MDHAQ includes, within 2 pages: complex activities, psychological queries, visual analog scales (VAS) as 21 numbered circles rather than 10-cm lines, a fatigue VAS, RADAI (rheumatoid arthritis disease activity index) self-report joint count, traditional "medical" review of systems and recent medical history, and demographic data, as well as a data management system that incorporates medication data and laboratory tests, reports for physicians and patients, and flow sheets to compare a current visit with a previous visit.

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