Introduction

Not only do adolescents who live with a rheumatic disease need to grow up and move on, the health care systems that provide care for them need to do the same. And we as professionals need to take an active part in that continuous work of improvement. This chapter gives a brief introduction to the background and philosophy of quality improvement in health care and how it can be applied to the "clinical microsystem" of pediatric adolescent rheumatology, that is, the place where adolescents with a rheumatic disease, their families, and health care professionals meet (4). The possibilities for improving outcomes for patients with rheumatic disease have increased tremendously during the last decades owing to new medications, improved methods for habilitation/rehabilitation, and improved methods for joint surgery. In addition, a more holistic way of providing care to children and adolescents with chronic disease has evolved based on interdisciplinary teams with the aim of meeting not only the medical but also the psychological and social needs of patients and families.

All these new possibilities and demands have made care much more complex. With the use of more effective and potent drugs, it has also become potentially more dangerous for patients. Safety related to the right drug in the right amount and potential side effects becomes a central focus for the interdisciplinary health care team. Much of the health care system is still organized as if we handle only acute disease and not chronic illness, which has significant implications for tracking patient outcomes, treatment plans, and coordinating care over time. We are organized around events, or in silos based on professional specialties, rather than on integrated long-term healing relationships with the patient in the center (5). Patients and their families are often still thought of as "guests" in our systems rather than health care professionals being guests in the lives of patients and families (1).

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

Thank you for deciding to learn more about the disorder, Osteoarthritis. Inside these pages, you will learn what it is, who is most at risk for developing it, what causes it, and some treatment plans to help those that do have it feel better. While there is no definitive “cure” for Osteoarthritis, there are ways in which individuals can improve their quality of life and change the discomfort level to one that can be tolerated on a daily basis.

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