Advancing Surveillance of Arthritis in Primary Care

According to the 2001 Canadian Community Health Survey, approximately 91% of Canadians have seen a primary care physician in the prior year. It has been estimated that 1 in 5 visits to primary care physicians is for arthritis. Dr. Hawker and her colleagues believe that since primary care physicians follow their patients for many years and play a key role in health promotion and disease prevention, the primary care setting is the best environment for tracking arthritis in the population.

A pilot project, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, was carried out by our research team to assess the feasibility of establishing a practice-based arthritis surveillance registry in a large urban Primary Care Health Team. This registry will support acquisition, effective utilization and dissemination of knowledge to enhance arthritis health for Canadians. Results from our project demonstrated that establishing a practice-based surveillance registry using pre-determined arthritis surveillance indicators to assess quality of arthritis care within our WCH Family Practice was feasible. Implementation of such strategies in a primary care environment will not only enable measurement of quality of care to improve the understanding of health needs of patients with arthritis but could also enhance practice-based research aimed at improving arthritis clinical practice. These findings have been disseminated to our Primary Care Health Team through various knowledge translation meetings.


Gillian Hawker (PI), A. Bierman, S. Dunn, R. Glazier, N. Pimlott


Sydney Lineker (TAS), Ontario Ministry of Health Long Term Care


Samra Mian


Last modified: January 18, 2009