Rheumatologic ultrasonography (RhUS) has grown in scope and application over the past 20 years. While many studies have shown the benefits of RhUS, few have investigated the efficacy of a dedicated clinic. This study explores the impact of a dedicated ultrasound clinic on patients and rheumatologists at an academic medical center (AMC).We analyzed claims data for patient visits, X-rays (XR), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and RhUS from an AMC with an established RhUS clinic, alongside two affiliated community medical practices (CMPs) without RhUS. We also analyzed RhUS clinic records on referral indication, procedures, results, and follow-up treatment changes. Pre- and post-RhUS visit patient surveys and referring physician (RP) surveys assessed experience and impact of the RhUS clinic.From 2018 to 2021, referrals to the RhUS clinic substantially increased. In parallel, XR and MRI orders changed by -76 % and -43 % respectively, compared with 163 % and -24 % at CMPs. Discordance between RP pre-RhUS assessments and RhUS results were common. Patient surveys showed RhUS led to increased disease understanding and impacted thoughts and decisions about their therapy. RPs found utility in RhUS across a range of indications and were confident with RhUS results.These findings suggest a dedicated RhUS clinic can be a valuable resource in clinical rheumatology practice. Implementation of a RhUS clinic at this AMC spurred rapid adoption of RhUS into clinical decision-making with notable benefits for patients and physicians alike. This may serve as a model for implementation of similar clinics at other institutions.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2023.152276
View details for PubMedID 37857047