The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued a new quality standard which focusses on diagnosis and management of spondyloarthritis in individuals aged ≥16 years with respect to high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.
The key goals of the quality standard are:
- Improved functional capacity and mobility;
- Improved productivity at work;
- Improved health related QoL;
- Improvement in pain and fatigue;
- Improved cardiovascular mortality rates;
- Improved disease activity and
- Improved outcomes of joint replacement surgery.
The quality standard covers the following 4 recommendations:
- Individuals with suspected axial or peripheral spondyloarthritis should be referred to a rheumatologist.
- Individuals with suspected axial spondyloarthritis and no evidence of sacroiliitis on X-ray should have an MRI using an inflammatory back pain protocol.
- Individuals with axial spondyloarthritis should be referred to a specialist physiotherapist for a structured exercise programme.
- Individuals with spondyloarthritis should be educated about their condition, which healthcare professionals will be involved with their care, and how and when to communicate with them.
Health professionals should also take into consideration quality standards on 'Low back pain and sciatica in over 16s', 'Multimorbidity', 'Medicines optimisation', 'Psoriasis', 'Rheumatoid arthritis in over 16s' when providing services for spondyloarthritis.