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Health services research helps to improve outcomes of rheumatic diseases

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Selected Publications

Health Services Research

Patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases are much better off today than in the past. Further progress is possible – through targeted measures in the care system.

How well are patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases treated in Germany? What gaps are there in the care system? These are questions that the Health Services Research Working Group is addressing.

Our working group is responsible for the national database of the German collaborative arthritis centres, which has been running since 1993. Every year, data is collected from about 13,000 patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. This long-term documentation enables us to observe how new therapies and changes in medical guidelines reach routine care. It also allows us to identify deficits in care depending on age, gender and social status. In addition, differences in care at the level of individual clinics and practices become visible. Many participating institutions use the documentation for internal quality assurance by comparing their results with those of other documenting centres.

In cooperation with the BARMER Krankenversicherung, we analyze health insurance data of persons with diagnoses of inflammatory rheumatic diseases. This provides an insight into the quality of care for persons suffering from rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases who do not necessarily have access to specialist rheumatological care.

This research project is supported by the Wolfgang Schulze Foundation of the League against Rheumatism in Berlin. In April 2020, a new research network TARISMA (Targeted Risk Management in Musculoskeletal Diseases) will start, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Our group is involved with a sub-project. We will investigate which concomitant diseases are particularly common in people with rheumatic diseases, how they differ from age and gender-matched individuals in the normal population and whether there has been a change in frequency and severity of comorbidity within the last 10 years.

The BMBF-funded joint project PROCLAIR (2015-2018) was coordinated by our working group. In cooperation with the universities of Oldenburg and Dresden, the Charité Berlin and the BARMER, insured persons with rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or osteoarthritis were interviewed about their complaints. The data were then linked with claims data on the use of health services.

In the BMBF-funded joint project METARTHROS (2015-2018) we investigated the influence of obesity and diabetes on the course of rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, using data from different cohorts.

With data from the early arthritis cohort CAPEA we investigate the relationship between the clinical course of RA and periodontitis or tooth loss. Whether specific autoantibodies can improve the early diagnosis of arthritis is investigated in collaboration with the University of Düsseldorf.

Health care research
claims data
inflammatory rheumatic diseases

Programme area Epidemiology and Health Services Research, and Deputy Scientific Director Prof. Dr. Angela Zink Phone +49 (0)30 28460-622 zink@drfz.de more
Group Leader
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Group leader
Prof. Dr. Angela Zink

Deputy Group Leader
Dr. Katinka Albrecht

Dr. Johanna Callhoff

Medical documentalists
Sascha Bischoff, B.A.
Dipl.-Soz. tech. Gregor Förster
Dipl.-Soz. tech. Katja Thiele

Research Assistant
Sabine Achtelstetter

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  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie (DGRh)
  • Deutsche Rheuma-Liga (DRL)
  • Tobias Alexander, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Rieke H. E. Alten, Schlosspark-Klinik, Berlin
  • Dr. Martin Aringer, Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus Dresden
  • Frank Behrens, Centrum für innovative Diagnostik und Therapie, Frankfurt
  • Dr. Frank Buttgereit, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Dr. Dr. Thomas Dietrich, University of Birmingham
  • Edmund Edelmann, Rheumazentrum Bad Aibling
  • Thorsten Eidner, Universitätsklinikum Jena
  • Dr. Erika Gromnica-Ihle, Berlin
  • Dr. Klaus-Peter Günther, Medizinische Fakultät Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden
  • Dr. Peter Härle, Klinik für Rheumatologie, Klinische Immunologie und Physikalische Therapie, Katholisches Klinikum Mainz
  • Jörg Henes, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
  • Ulrich von Hinüber, Dr. Winfried Demary und Dr. Bettina Linhart, Rheumatologie und Osteologie, Hildesheim
  • Guido Hoese, Rheumapraxis, Stadthagen
  • Dr. Falk Hoffmann, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
  • Kirsten Karberg, Praxis für Rheumatogolgie und Innere Medizin, Berlin
  • Stefan Kleinert und Dr. Florian Schuch, Praxisgemeinschaft Rheumatologie Nephrologie Erlangen
  • Dr. Ina Kötter, Asklepios Klinik Altona, Hamburg
  • Dr. Andreas Krause, Immanuel Krankenhaus Berlin
  • Wolfgang Ochs, Internistisch-rheumatologische Praxisgemeinschaft, Bayreuth
  • Dr. Jutta Richter, Prof. Dr. Matthias Schneider, Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf
  • Dr. Georg Schett, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen
  • Dr. Jochen Schmitt, Medizinische Fakultät Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden
  • Susanna Späthling-Mestekemper, Rheumapraxis München-Pasing
  • Siegfried Wassenberg, Dr. Ralf Weier und Dr. Benjamin Köhler, Rheumazentrum Ratingen
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Continue to Selected Publications
  • Thiele K, Callhoff J, Eidner T, Hoese G, Karberg K, Wassenberg S, Zink A, Albrecht K. Welche Patienten mit rheumatoider Arthritis erhalten keine DMARD-Therapie? Eine Analyse von Daten der Kerndokumentation. Z Rheumatol. 2019 Sep 11. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00393-019-00712-2
  • Albrecht K, Callhoff J, Zink A. Langzeittrends in der rheumatologischen Versorgung Erfolge und Defizite im Spiegel von 25 Jahren rheumatologischer Kerndokumentation. Z Rheumatol. 2019 Oct;78(8):703-712. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00393-019-0660-5
  • Callhoff J, Albrecht K, Hoffmann F, Poddubnyy D, Günther KP, Zink A. Versorgungswirklichkeit muskuloskeletaler Erkrankungen auf Bevölkerungsebene. Erkenntnisse aus dem Verbundprojekt PROCLAIR. Z Rheumatol. 2019 Oct;78(8):713-721.https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00393-019-0664-1
  • Callhoff J, Albrecht K, Redeker I, Lange T, Goronzy J, Günther KP, Zink A, Schmitt J, Saam J, Postler A. Disease burden of persons with osteoarthritis: results of a cross-sectional survey linked to claims data. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2019 Sep 3. doi: 10.1002/acr.24058. [Epub ahead of print]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31479193
  • Callhoff J, Dietrich T, Chubrieva M, Klotsche J, Zink A. A patient-reported questionnaire developed in a German early arthritis cohort to assess periodontitis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Res Ther. 2019 Aug 29;21(1):197.https://arthritis-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13075-019-1982-z
  • Luque Ramos A, Redeker I, Hoffmann F, Callhoff J, Zink A, Albrecht K. Comorbidities in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Their Association with Patient-reported Outcomes: Results of Claims Data Linked to Questionnaire Survey. J Rheumatol. 2019 Jun;46(6):564-571. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30647170
  • Callhoff J, Thiele K, Dörner T, Zink A, Richter JG, Henes J, Albrecht K. Trends in employment and hospitalisation in patients with Sjögren’s syndrome 1996-2016: results from the German National database. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2019 May-Jun;37 Suppl 118(3):83-89. https://www.clinexprheumatol.org/abstract.asp?a=13940
  • Jacobs H, Callhoff J, Hoffmann F, Zink A, Albrecht K.
    Nichtmedikamentöse Versorgung der rheumatoiden Arthritis. Eine Analyse von Abrechnungsdaten und einer Versichertenbefragung (Projekt PROCLAIR).
    Z Rheumatol. 2019 Mar;78(2):119-126. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00393-018-0567-6
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