Objective. To determine the effects of the Arthritis Self-Management Program 4 years after participation in it.
Methods. Valid self-administered instruments were used to measure health status, psychological states, and health service utilization.
Results. Pain had declined a mean of 20% and visits to physicians 40%, while physical disability had increased 9%. Comparison groups did not show similar changes. Estimated 4-year savings were $648 per rheumatoid arthritis patient and $189 per osteoarthritis patient.
Conclusion. Health education in chronic arthritis may add significant and sustained benefits to conventional therapy while reducing costs.