Our Reach Expands With Global Osteoarthritis Management

In 2016, the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) reported that osteoarthritis (OA) is the third most prevalent condition causing disability globally. Currently, there is no cure for OA, which is the most prevalent form of arthritis both in the U.S. and worldwide.

The Arthritis Foundation is working with many OA patient advocacy organizations around the world to develop treatment options that are most meaningful to patients. With this in mind, the Foundation, led by our OA Programs Director Angie Botto-van Bemden, PhD, and the Osteoarthritis Foundation International (OAFI) have been working closely together, leading an international OA task force on two initiatives to collect global perceptions about how OA impacts patients. The task force also includes members from the Pan-American League of Associations for Rheumatology (PANLAR) in North and South America and patients affiliated with the Italian Society of Rheumatology, as well as other global OA experts.

The goals of this initiative are to assess current global OA management pathways and ultimately improve patient outcomes through management efficiencies and consistent, evidence-based messaging throughout the health care team. The initial results of these pilot studies will be presented at two upcoming conferences.

The first pilot study — the Global Osteoarthritis (OA) Patient Perception Survey (GOAPPS)   Pilot — is the first global survey of its kind to directly compare quality of life (QoL) in OA patients in the same survey, across different languages and cultures. Arthritis Foundation-affiliated OA patients were among more than 1,500 patients from English-, Spanish- and Italian-speaking countries who responded to the survey. Results emphasized the huge impact OA has on patients’ daily activities and their desire to have an active role in management; 79 percent of patients asked for additional options for nondrug/nonsurgical treatments. The international OA task force plans to run a follow-up GOAPP (version 2) survey that will look at current OA treatment guideline adherence globally.

The second study — Global OA Management Begins With Quality of Life (QoL) Assessment in Knee OA Patients: A Systematic Review — comprised 610 published scientific papers that covered 62 studies reporting QoL results for patients with knee OA. Not surprisingly, this study confirmed that specific individual factors, such as gender, body weight, exercise, mental health and education, can influence QoL and treatment outcomes for knee OA patients. Understanding how individual factors play into a patient’s QoL helps provide valuable tools to health care professionals working with their patients to co-develop more effective treatment plans.

The task force hopes results of their studies will lead to symposiums at OA-related society meetings, continuing discussions between patients, researchers and clinicians that help prioritize patient needs. “I’m happy to see our work contribute to improving co-development of OA management plans with patients and their entire health care team,” says Dr. Botto-van Bemden. “We’re helping OA patients be partners and stronger advocates in their health care decisions.”

These initiatives will be presented by our international partners this spring during the 2019 World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, April 4-7, in Paris, France. They will also be presented by Dr. Botto-van Bemden at the OARSI 2019 World Congress in Toronto, Canada, May 2-6.

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