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Abstract

After we assessed the functional status of 439 patients with osteoarthritis, we randomly assigned them to 1 of 3 intervention groups or to a control group. The interventions consisted of providing information, and differed only in the method of delivery: by phone, in person at the clinic, or both. Physical health improved (P = 0.02), pain was reduced (P = 0.02), and psychological health improved marginally (P = 0.10) in patients contacted by phone compared with those not contacted by phone. In those contacted only at the clinic, physical health worsened (P = 0.02), but neither pain (P = 0.80) nor psychological health (P = 0.90) differed from the values in patients not contacted at the clinic. We conclude that telephone contact is a useful intervention that can enhance the functional status of patients with osteoarthritis.