The Psoriatic Arthritis Unit (PAs), attached to the Rheumatology service of the Doctor Negrín University Hospital of Gran Canaria, a center dependent on the Ministry of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands, has received the quality certification granted by the Spanish Society for Healthcare Quality (SECA). It is a recognition of excellence in the care of people with this pathology. This certification has materialized after an external audit was carried out by the SECA, who assesses the 59 quality standards for the management of patients with PsA established in the Quantum Project, quality initiative to improve results in Psoriatic Arthritis. It is a program developed by this institution, which is sponsored by the biopharmaceutical company AbbVie and with the methodological endorsement of the Spanish Society of Rheumatology (SER).
The objective of this project is to improve the care and quality of life of patients with psoriatic arthritis throughout Spain, through an initial self-assessment, individualized improvement plans and a subsequent audit to, where appropriate, certify the quality level of units of APs. The standards have been designed by a group of experts in psoriatic arthritis in order to measure the quality with which people with this pathology are cared for in the national territory.
The Psoriatic Arthritis Unit of the Negrín Rheumatology service treats about 550 patients with this pathology each year and detects around 20 new cases annually.. Since March 2020, and as a consequence of the health crisis, Telephone consultations have increased for the care of these patients under follow-up. However, the first consultations have been held in person, without detecting a reduction in the number of diagnosed patients.
Quality of life
The head of the Rheumatology section of the aforementioned Gran Canaria center, Carlos Rodriguez Lozano, points out that the objective of the Psoriatic Arthritis Unit is that “these patients have a full quality of life without any functional limitation. To achieve this objective, there must be an early detection and referral of patients that allows diagnosis in the initial stages of the pathology. This objective can only be achieved if there is an effective relationship between Primary Care, Dermatology and Rheumatology ”. In addition, it is also essential to start an effective treatment before the patient develops structural and irreversible alterations in their joints. This requires protocolized monitoring by the medical and nursing areas, measuring disease activity, assessing the opinion of patients, and having techniques such as ultrasound available.
After the recognition received, Dr. Rodríguez Lozano highlights the effort and good work done by the professionals of the Rheumatology, Dermatology and Primary Care services “because they are all participants in this achievement. The most important thing is that this evaluation has allowed us to detect the areas susceptible to improvement and, therefore, to put in place the mechanisms to try to further improve the care of patients with psoriatic arthritis ”.
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic and progressive multiorgan immune-mediated inflammatory disease, present in 10-20% of patients with skin psoriasis. It courses irregularly throughout life, with periods of inactivity and others of inflammation and pain, and has a very heterogeneous clinical presentation, which includes joint and extra-articular manifestations and associated comorbidities that require multidisciplinary management.