A new program to help you track and manage rheumatoid arthritis.

Please note that recruitment for this study is now closed.

Study Title: 

Empowering active self-management of arthritis: Raising the bar with OPERAS (an On-demand Program to EmpoweR Active Self-management) 


Principal Investigator: 

Linda Li PT, PhD; Professor, University of British Columbia; Senior Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada

Diane Lacaille, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, Senior Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada; Professor and Associate Head Academic Affairs, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia


Start Date and End Date:

February 2019 – February 2022

Why do this research?

We will research an online intervention app called OPERAS (On-demand Program to EmpoweR Active Self-management) in community settings, in order to address a much needed but under-researched area in the current care for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), namely active self-management.  This project builds on a decade-long partnership between researchers, patients and clinicians to improve the health of people with RA. The research will address the following: Can an online program, combining symptom/disease activity monitoring and physical activity counselling by a physiotherapist (PT) improve self-management ability in people with RA?


What will be done?

After a baseline assessment, we will randomly assign participants to receive the program immediately or in 6 months. All will receive:

  • an orientation to the OPERAS web app
  • an education session about physical activity and
  • a Fitbit Flex, which links to the app.

During their enrollment, participants will receive follow-ups from their study PT as well as follow-up assessments at baseline, six and twelve months.


Who is involved

The research is done under the guidance of patient collaborators including two patient leads, as well as ten core health and data scientists at ARC, UBC and SFU.  The group is partnering with a Canadian health tech company, Tactica, based out of Manitoba to build the online program. The study will be aiming to recruit 134 people with RA who live in the Greater Vancouver Area, and who have daily access to the internet.


How do people get involved?

Please note that recruitment for this study is now closed.


Have questions? Contact:

Email: operas@arthritisresearch.ca


Who is funding the research?

The Arthritis Society


Who is on the research team?


Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PT, PhD, Professor, Department of Physiotherapy, University of British Columbia

Catherine Backman, PhD, OT(C), FCAOT, Professor and Head, Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia; Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada

Chris Shaw, PhD, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University

John Esdaile, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Scientific Director, Arthritis Research Canada; Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Rob Petrella, MD, PhD, Professor, School of Kinesiology, Western University

Lynne Feehan, BScPT, MSc, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Physiotherapy, University of British Columbia

Paul Adam, MSW, Rheumatology Liaison and Outreach Services Coordinator, Mary Pack Arthritis Program

Kimberly Miller, BScPT, MSc, PhD, Senior Leader, Clinical Education & Special Projects, Rehabilitation & Development Management, Sunny Hill Centre for Children; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU



Charles Goldsmith, MSc, PhD, Professor, Biostatistics, Simon Fraser University

Alison Hoens, PT, KB, BC Support Unit

Cheryl Koehn, President, Arthritis Consumer Experts


Technology Partner:

Tactica Interactive