Current Research

How can we measure and alleviate the financial challenges of systemic lupus erythematosus?



Study Title: The Economic Challenges of SLE: Measuring and Mitigating the Impact

Principal Investigator:
Ann Clarke, MD, MSc. Professor, Division of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary

Study Start Date: 2015  |  
End Date: 2017


Why do this research?


Many have written about the commonness of SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) but few have described the economic challenges experienced by these patients and fewer still have documented their lost productivity. While previous research has been conducted, they were limited by a small sample from a few centres and a short time horizon. Further, most studies that estimated indirect costs (such as sick leave and time off for health care visits) were conducted over a decade ago and they only considered “absenteeism,” (time actually lost from work), and excluded “presenteeism,” (impaired performance while actually working). This research will remedy these limitations by including a large sample of patients from multiple Canadian sites and will use state-of-the-art methods to estimate longer-term accumulated direct and indirect costs, reflective of the long-lasting and progressive nature of SLE.


What will be done?


We will survey SLE patients on the health care they have used and the time they have missed from work and household/volunteering activities due to illness over the past year.  Short-term costs will be calculated by assigning prices to the health care resources used and by assigning wages to the lost time.  Long-term costs will be estimated by developing models to predict disease development and incorporating costs associated with each level of disease severity.


Who is involved?


Patients fulfilling American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and/or Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) Classification Criteria for SLE who are participating in pre-existing SLEresearch studies in six Canadian sites (Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Calgary) will be invited to participate at a clinic visit.We anticipate enrolling 1450 patients (200 from Halifax, 100 from Quebec City, 300 from Montreal, 500 from Toronto, 200 from Winnipeg, and 150 from Calgary).


How do people get involved?


Recruitment is now completed for this study.


Who is funding the research?


Canadian Initiatives for Outcomes in Rheumatology


Who is on the research team?



Dr. Susan Elliott PhD
Professor, School of Public Health, University of Waterloo

Dr. Vern Farewell PhD
Professor & Scientific Programme Leader
Institute Public Health
Medical Research Council, Cambridge, UK

Dr. John Hanly MD
Professor of Medicine & Pathology
Dalhousie University

Dr. Murray Urowitz MD
Professor and Senior Scientist
Toronto Western Research Institute

Dr. Sasha Bernatsky MD PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
McGill University

Dr. Evelyne Vinet MD PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
McGill University

Dr. Dafna Gladman MD
Professor and Senior Scientist
Toronto Western Research Institute

Dr. Christine Peschken MD MSc
Associate Professor of Medicine
University of Manitoba

Dr. Alexandra Albert MD
Assistant Professor, Université Laval

Dr. Christian Pineau MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
McGill University

Dr. Dianne Mosher MD
Chief, Division of Rheumatology
University of Calgary

Dr. Marvin Fritzler PhD MD
Professor of Medicine, University of Calgary
Scientific Director, Mitogen Laboratory

Research Staff:

Yvan St. Pierre MSc.
Health Economist, McGill University

Rick Chin MSc.
Statistical Associate, University of Calgary

Whitney Steber BSc.
Clinical Research Manager, University of Calgary

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