Key Challenges to Future


Lead Author(s): 

Charles G. Helmick, MD, CDC Team

Several data limitations exist for addressing AORC in the future. First, on October 1, 2015, ICD-10-CM will be required for use in clinical records; it is already in use for death records. The current National Arthritis Data Workgroup definition of AORC uses ICD-9-CM codes. Due to changes in conditions for the new codes, a direct translation cannot be made. This means a new definition of AORC or some similar concept will be needed for analyses using ICD-based data after that date. CDC will be working with ICD-10-CM translation experts and selected stakeholders to propose a draft standard ICD-10-CM–based definition, which will shared with the larger arthritis community to reach agreement on a new definition.

Second, there is a need for data on more specific conditions—for example, rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, psoriatic arthritis—to help drive clinical (eg, treatment, quality) and public health (eg, self-management education, safe physical activity) efforts. Electronic health records may prove helpful in creating valid measures.  

Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are not addressed with the same priority as many other chronic conditions, perhaps because such priorities are driven more by measures of mortality rather than measures for quality of life and disability. However, there is a growing policy interest in the role of multiple chronic conditions in health and health costs.1 Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions play a major role from this perspective, with about half of people with heart disease or diabetes and about a third of those with obesity also affected by arthritis and rheumatic conditions.2,3,4

  • 1. HHS initiative on multiple chronic conditions. Available at: Accessed on December 2, 2014.
  • 2. Bolen J, Murphy L, Greenlund K, , Helmick CG, Hootman J, Brady TJ, Langmaid G, Keenan N: Arthritis as a potential barrier to physical activity among adults with heart disease—United States, 2005 and 2007. MMWR 2009;58(7):165-169.
  • 3. Bolen J, Hootman J, Helmick CG, Murphy L, Langmaid G, Caspersen CJ: Arthritis as a potential barrier to physical activity among adults with diabetes—United States, 2005 and 2007. MMWR 2008;57(18):486-489.
  • 4. Barbour KE, Hootman JM, Murphy LB, Helmick CG: Arthritis as a potential barrier to physical activity among adults with obesity—United States, 2007 and 2009. MMWR 2011;60(19):614-618.


  • 2014

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