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Patient-controlled outpatient follow-up on demand for patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a 2-year randomized controlled trial

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INTRODUCTION: Scheduled routine visits in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may be in a stable period without active disease. Consequently, there is a demand for developing outpatient control procedures which cater to the needs of the individual patient.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to compare a patient-controlled outpatient follow-up system, Open Outpatient Clinic Programme (OOCP), with traditional scheduled routine follow-up (TSRF) regarding patient satisfaction and disease activity markers in RA patients.

METHOD: In a 2-year randomized controlled trial, RA patients were allocated to OOCP or TSRF. OOCP patients had no scheduled appointments but were allowed acute appointments with their rheumatologist and had access to nurse-led consultations and a telephone helpline. Appointments for the TSRF group were scheduled according to routine procedures (clinical parameters: DAS-28, C-reactive protein, VAS pain, tender and swollen joint count, HAQ-DI and radiographs; psychological parameters: VAS patient satisfaction and EQ-5D).

RESULTS: Of 282 patients, 239 completed the study (OOCP/TSRF characteristics: age 61.4 ± 10.5/60.9 ± 12.2 years, females 77/74%, ACPA positive 66/65%). At years 1 and 2, OCCP had fewer visits (year 2: 2.6 ± 1.6 vs. 3.5 ± 2; p < 0.0005) but more phone calls (year 2: 0.7 ± 1.4 vs. 0.1 ± 0.3; p < 0.0005) compared to TSRF. OOCP was comparable to TSRF regarding clinical and psychological outcome measures, and no radiographic progression was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: OOCP was associated with significantly fewer visits but with more phone calls to the nurse and was comparable with TSGentofte University HospitalRF regarding clinical, psychological and radiographic outcomes. Thus, the organization of outpatient care according to OOCP may be applied to strengthen patient-centred care in patients with RA. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (July 20, 2020): NCT04476875 Key points • In a patient-controlled outpatient follow-up system, RA patients had significantly fewer visits compared to traditional follow-up. • The patient-controlled follow-up system was comparable with traditional follow-up regarding clinical, psychological and radiographic outcomes. • Organization of outpatient care according to a patient-controlled follow-up system may be applied to strengthen patient-centred care in patients with RA.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Rheumatology
Volume40
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)3599-3604
Number of pages6
ISSN0770-3198
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR).

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    Research areas

  • Aged, Ambulatory Care, Arthritis, Rheumatoid/therapy, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Middle Aged, Outpatients, Patient Satisfaction

ID: 70532510