Measuring Healthcare for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Designing a Tool to Improve Rheumatology Care

The Problem

Rheumatoid Arthritis affects 1 in 100 people. It can cause disability, lead to expensive surgeries, increase the risk of heart and lung problems, and even lead to death. Early treatment helps people with rheumatoid arthritis live longer and have a better quality of life.

The Solution

By creating a “learning health system” that uses data collected in everyday patient visits we can ensure that the care provided meets the highest standards.

What the Study will do

This project will develop the “Alberta Rheumatology Learning Health System”, a tool designed to improve rheumatology care. This tool will improve care by making sure it meets the highest standards.

The Research Study

One of the main difficulties in measuring the quality of care in people with rheumatoid arthritis is the amount of information available. To improve this, the research team has collaborated with the national rheumatology community to create ways to measure good healthcare for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

In Alberta, a new Electronic Health Record is being set up, and it offers the right opportunity to measure how care is given and how patients are doing across the province.

This project will develop the Alberta Rheumatology Learning Health System, following these steps:

  • Bring together individuals living with rheumatoid arthritis, healthcare providers, and health system leaders to select health outcome measures from a national framework.
  • Develop strategies with data experts to track these measures using health record data over time.
  • Work with experts to find the best ways to give healthcare providers and leaders feedback to improve care and outcomes.
  • Share findings with regional and national organizations to contribute to quality improvement efforts nationally.


This project will involve people living with rheumatoid arthritis, healthcare providers, and health system leaders. Regional and national rheumatology organizations will also partner with the researchers to share findings and help improve healthcare processes.

Research Scientist

Claire Barber Research Scientist, Rheumatology, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Claire Barber Research Scientist, Rheumatology, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Research Scientist


Dr. Claire Barber completed an honors degree in microbiology and immunology (2002), a medical degree (2006), and internal medicine training (2009) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She then pursued subspecialty medical training in rheumatology at the University of Toronto (2011). She came to Calgary to pursue additional research training in epidemiology and graduated with a PhD in Epidemiology from the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary in 2016.

Currently, Dr. Barber is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary since 2015. She is also affiliated with the O’Brien Institute for Public Health and the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health. She is the current Scientific Director of the Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network for Alberta Health Services.

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