WASHINGTON, DC—Results from a global survey given to over 3,900 patients and 1,600 physicians showed that good communication and patient involvement in decision-making are “critical to achieve optimal care,” presented Allan Gibofsky, MD, at the 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting.

The questionnaire on treatment and management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was developed by The RA NarRAtive GLobal Advisory Panel, consisting of 39 rheumatology experts. It was distributed between September 2014 and January 2016 in 15 countries.

“The survey was launched to gain a better understanding of the similarities and differences in physician and patient perspectives, with the goal of improving patient care,” added Dr. Gibofsky. 

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Results from the survey showed that 90% of physicians were satisfied with their communication with patients but 68% acknowledged “I wish my patients and I talked more about goals and treatment.” 

Establishing treatment goals and a disease management plan with patients were believed to be essential for the successful management of RA, according to the majority of physicians. However, results from the patients’ surveys indicated that few patients had discussed treatment goals with their physician or realized there was a disease management plan in place.

About half of patients (53%) acknowledged that dialogue with their clinician would optimize their RA management, and 61% did not feel comfortable expressing their concerns or fears to their physicians. 

Compared to the patient survey, physicians ranked RA remission higher as a treatment goal; patients were more likely to state symptom reduction as a treatment goal. 

Most physicians (88%) were in agreement that those patients involved in making treatment decisions tend to be more satisfied with their treatment experience. Seventy-four percent of physicians agreed that those patients not involved in making treatment decisions are more likely to be non-adherent to treatment. 

In general, both patients and physicians had similar views on what they would most like to change about currently available RA treatments, including the severity of adverse events, cost, and efficacy. 

“The hope is that this survey represents the beginning of a road map to address deficiencies so we can ultimately improve patient care,” concluded Dr. Gibofsky.