Patient-initiated hospital follow-up for rheumatoid arthritis
Hewlett, S. , Kirwan, J. R. , Mitchell, K. , Hogg, J. , Korendovych, E. and Paine, T. (2000) Patient-initiated hospital follow-up for rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology, 39. pp. 990-997. ISSN 1462-0324
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Publisher's URL: http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content...
Objectives: To evaluate the clinical efficacy, cost and acceptability of a shared care system of patient- or general practitioner (GP)-initiated hospital review in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods: A 2-yr randomized controlled trial of routine rheumatologist-initiated review was compared with a shared care system. Shared care patients had no routine follow-up but patients or GPs initiated access to rapid review by the multidisciplinary team via a nurse-run helpline. Control patients had a rheumatologist-initiated medical review at intervals of 3–6 months. Clinical and psychological status, resource use, and patient and GP satisfaction and confidence were assessed. Three-monthly clinical data were assessed (blind) for safety monitoring, with failure set at a 20% increase in pain, disability or disease activity. Results: Two hundred and nine established RA patients participated, of whom 182 were evaluable. Safety-net failures were not different between groups. Shared care patients had less pain (24 months, 3.9 cm on a 10-cm visual analogue scale vs 4.8 cm for controls; P < 0.05), a smaller increase in pain over 2 yr (+ 0.4 cm vs +1.6 cm for controls; P < 0.01), greater self-efficacy (6, 15, 18, 21 months, P < 0.05), used 33.5% less resources (£208 per patient per year vs £313 for controls; P < 0.001) and were more confident in the system (6, 9, 12, 18, 21, 24 months, P < 0.01 to P < 0.001). Conclusions: A patient-initiated system for hospital review over 2 yr offers some clinical benefit compared with the traditional system, using fewer resources and attracting greater patient confidence. Longer-term assessment of the system would be appropriate.
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