Recognising RDMA: National Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit (NEIAA)

The National Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit (NEIAA) was a highly commended audit at the 2019 Richard Driscoll Memorial Award. Here’s what the audit had to say about what the RDMA commendation meant to them.

The National Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit (NEIAA) was commended in last year’s Richard Driscoll Memorial Award. This national award recognises outstanding patient and public involvement. Entries for the Richard Driscoll Memorial Award were assessed on innovation, sustainability, communication and impact.

The NEIAA audit aims to improve the quality of care for people living with inflammatory arthritis, collecting information on all new patients over the age of 16 in specialist rheumatology departments in England and Wales.

The audit generates unit-level data, benchmarked to regional and national comparators against NICE Quality Standard 33 and other key metrics.

It quantifies the impact of the last audit in more detail, measuring how reconfiguration and staffing changes have changed practice and patient care.

The first annual report was published in October 2019 and the second is due to be published towards the end of this year. As a result of one of the recommendations from the first annual report, the patient panel is currently developing a framework for the ideal clinic visit. This document considers the full patient journey from forward planning prior to the appointment to exiting the appointment. This framework will be shared with rheumatology teams once completed.

A key factor in the establishment and successful uptake of the NEIAA has been the patient panel which is formed of 9 patients and one patient expert, who meet throughout the year to discuss workstreams relating to the audit for example, the annual Patient and Public Report.

Being awarded the commendation gave the audit, the team behind it, especially the patient panel, external validation of our approach. The award also encouraged the use of patient involvement approach to be continued with NEIAA and has also helped to shape other projects such as ePROMs, which included patient testing.

As we prepare the second annual report the findings show that NEIAA has helped to drive forward quality improvement with rheumatology services and therefore improve patient care. The support of the patient panel has been a leading factor to this success.

Sarah Oyebanjo
Clinical Audit Project Manager, NEIAA

Visit NEIAA’s case study page to read about their commended work in patient and public involvement.