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How can we tell if Ankylosing Spondylitis care is being given according to recommendations?

 

Scientific Study Title: Measurable definitions of ankylosing spondylitis management recommendations are needed for use in observational studies.

 

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Harvard, University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health PhD student and Arthritis Research Canada Trainee supervised by Dr. Bruno Fautrel, Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, and Dr. Aslam Anis, University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health

 

Study Start Date: June 2012

 

Study EndDate: July 2014

 

What was done?

AS (short for ‘ankylosing spondylitis’) is a severe form of spondyloarthritis (that affects the back, hips, and often other parts of the body. Specialist doctors have developed recommendations for how to care for AS patients, which include how to use medications, physiotherapy, and other treatments. However, these recommendations can be hard to understand – in fact, it is possible that different doctors will interpret the recommendations in different ways. For researchers who want to study the effect of following recommended care, it is important to understand exactly what is recommended and how to tell if AS care is being given as directed. To help understand this, researchers brought together specialist doctors to talk about what the recommendations mean to them. The researchers then did an online survey to ask specialists what it means to follow AS care recommendations.

 

What were the key findings?

The study discovered that specialist doctors have some differences of opinion about recommended AS care. Based on the feedback they received from the specialists, researchers developed a way to measure whether AS care is being given according to recommendations.

 

Who was involved?

This study was led by a student researcher as part of a PhD thesis. A total of 7 researchers participated in the study.

 

Who funded this research?

To support her work with the DESIR Cohort, Stephanie Harvard received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research doctoral research award, two bursaries from the French Embassy in Canada, and a Michael Smith Foreign Study Travel award. This portion of the work received no additional funding.

Publications:

Harvard S, Gossec L, Pham T, Richette P, Dougados M, Anis A, Fautrel B. Measurable definitions of ankylosing spondylitis management recommendations are needed for use in observational studies. Joint Bone Spine. 2016 Jan;83(1):101-3.

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