Telemedicine in the management of rheumatoid arthritis: maintaining disease control with less health-care utilization
SourceRheumatology Advances in Practice, 5, 1, (2021), article rkaa079
Article / Letter to editor
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Rheumatology Advances in Practice
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 4: lnfectious Diseases and Global Health RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 5: Inflammatory diseases RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to evaluate the use of an eHealth platform and a self-management outpatient clinic in patients with RA in a real-world setting. The effects on health-care utilization and disease activity were studied. METHODS: Using hospital data of patients with RA between 2014 and 2019, the use of an eHealth platform and participation in a self-management outpatient clinic were studied. An interrupted time series analysis compared the period before and after the introduction of the eHealth platform. The change in trend (relative to the pre-interruption trend) for the number of outpatient clinic visits and the DAS for 28 joints (DAS28) were determined for several scenarios. RESULTS: After implementation of the platform in April 2017, the percentage of patients using it was stable at ∼37%. On average, the users of the platform were younger, more highly educated and had better health outcomes than the total RA population. After implementation of the platform, the mean number of quarterly outpatient clinic visits per patient decreased by 0.027 per quarter (95% CI: -0.045, -0.08, P = 0.007). This was accompanied by a significant decrease in DAS28 of 0.056 per quarter (95% CI: -0.086, -0025, P = 0.001). On average, this resulted in 0.955 fewer visits per patient per year and a reduction of 0.503 in the DAS28. CONCLUSION: The implementation of remote patient monitoring has a positive effect on health-care utilization, while maintaining low disease activity. This should encourage the use of this type of telemedicine in the management of RA, especially while many routine outpatient clinic visits are cancelled owing to COVID-19.
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