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26-10-2020 | Rheumatoid arthritis | News

News in brief

Telemedicine ‘can reasonably be offered’ as part of usual rheumatoid arthritis care

Author: Claire Barnard


medwireNews: The authors of an observational study report “few differences” in quality of care and patient-reported outcomes among people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who took part in telemedicine consultations compared with those attending in-person appointments only.

The study included 122 RA patients who attended a rheumatology appointment, either in person or via video telemedicine, between August 2016 and March 2018. During 1 year of follow-up, 52% of participants took part in at least one telemedicine consultation.

In a multivariate analysis, Elizabeth Ferucci (Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, USA) and co-authors found that the use of remote appointments over 1 year of follow-up was significantly associated with increased RAPID3 and functional status scores, but there was no significant association between telemedicine use and the probability of achieving low disease activity or remission. Telemedicine use was not significantly associated with the number of consultations, documentation of disease activity, changes in medication, or DMARD use.

“These findings indicate that telemedicine can reasonably be offered as a component of care for RA,” write the researchers in Arthritis Care & Research.

They add that the study “was conducted prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and since that time the uptake of telemedicine in rheumatology and other specialties has increased dramatically.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2020 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

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Arthritis Care Res 2020; doi:10.1002/acr.24485