Evidence suggesting that health education for self-management in patients with chronic arthritis has sustained health benefits while reducing health care costs



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.