Significance and Potential Impact
Use of NLP and PROs has the potential to transform the care of patients with RA, and to reduce health disparities for underserved and minority populations.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects 1.3 million Americans, and those with low socio-economic status experience disparities in outcomes. PROs are used by rheumatologists to inform the care and treatment of patients with RA. Collection of this information is not standardized and, therefore, it cannot be reliably used for population health research. Furthermore, uninsured and minority patients are under-represented in health research, and RA research in particular. In a world where copious health data are collected, it is vital that these data represent the entire population.
Using natural language processing to drive quality improvement for rheumatoid arthritis care and treatment.
Dr. Jinoos Yazdany at the University of California in San Francisco is leading research to extract PROs documented in clinical notes using NLP. As the work progresses, the team will focus their efforts on aggregating RA PROs from participating public hospitals into a database that will be used to track improvements to agreed-upon measures. Dr. Yazdany’s research is aligned with AHRQ’s priority areas of patient-centered outcomes research and reducing health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. Using NLP to aggregate PROs in clinic visit notes at public hospitals provides an opportunity to improve rheumatology care and treatment, particularly for vulnerable populations that experience the most health disparities. If successful, this research has the potential to transform healthcare for RA by making care more patient centered and by providing tools to facilitate shared decision making and disease monitoring.