Comparison of expectations of physicians and patients with rheumatoid arthritis for rheumatology clinic visits: a pilot, multicenter, international study

Authors


Correspondence: Prof H. Ralph Schumacher, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Philadelphia Veteran Affairs Medical Center, 151K, University & Woodland Aves., Philadelphia, 19104, USA. Email: schumacr@mail.med.upenn.edu

Abstract

Aim

To describe and compare expectations of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and their physicians with regard to what is most important to achieve during a rheumatology clinic visit.

Methods

Subjects were RA patients enrolled in four centers from China, one from Japan and one from the USA, and rheumatologists at those centers. The questionnaires were provided at clinics and patients were asked to list their three top priorities for the rheumatology clinic visit. Physicians were contacted separately and asked to give three general expectations, not for specific visits. We classified clinical expectations into a series of 24 terms for patients and 17 for physicians. We compared physicians' to patients' responses, compared expectations among centers in China, Japan and the USA, and evaluated relationships between patients' responses and age, gender, nationality, disease duration and DAS-28 (Disease Activity Score-28).

Results

Patients' clinical expectations for visits focused primarily on control of pain (63.7%), improvement of function (49.3%) and discussion of effects of medication (38.1%). Physicians also included control of pain (59.5%), but also emphasized inquiry about drug side-effects (47.8%) and objective assessment of disease activity (41.4%). We found no differences related to patients' gender, disease duration and DAS-28, but there were some differences related to age and nationality.

Conclusion

We found some agreement and some discordance of clinical expectations between RA patients and physicians. There appear to be some different expectations in different countries. Findings from this pilot survey may help physicians consider patients' expectations in planning rheumatology clinic visits and may lead to further hypothesis-driven studies.

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