More Research Needed to Determine Long-Term Impact of Virtual Care on Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
June 30, 2021 (Vancouver) – A review of all available research on the topic finds rheumatoid arthritis patient satisfaction and disease activity remain stable under virtual care. However, future research in this area should focus on the long-term impact of virtual care on patients and the health system.
“The purpose of this review was to investigate the impact of virtual rheumatology care on people with rheumatoid arthritis in terms of disease activity and patient experience and satisfaction with care,” said Dr. Claire Barber, rheumatologist and scientist at Arthritis Research Canada. “Virtual care strategies appear to support patients in maintaining stable disease activity over time and deliver a good patient experience.”
Patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis require frequent assessments and lifelong, specialized care. However, in many regions around the world, there is a shortage of rheumatologists. This demand and shortage of specialists can create longer wait times for people living with rheumatoid arthritis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has played a large role in increasing the use of virtual care in medicine in the form of videoconferencing and telephone calls to rheumatologists or rheumatology nurses. Given this major shift in care delivery, it is important to understand how patient outcomes are impacted.
Barber added that health policies to support physicians in these new roles with training in technology, new workflows and allied health support should be explored.
Overall, despite the relative lack of data currently available on the use of virtual care in the management of rheumatoid arthritis patients, it is clear that this method of care has the potential to be a useful tool in the current healthcare model.
Want more information on this research? Click here, to view the research paper.
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ABOUT ARTHRITIS RESEARCH CANADA:
Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose world recognized research is creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is conducting research across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec and is affiliated with five major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, and McGill University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at arthritis prevention, early diagnosis, new and better treatment, and improved quality of life.
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