The Arthritis Foundation is partnering globally with other osteoarthritis (OA)-related patient advocacy organizations to develop consistent treatment management messaging for all health care providers (HCPs) who interact with OA patients. Currently, an OA patient may see different types of HCPs, depending on the stage of their disease and their location. It’s important that primary care doctors become familiar with all OA treatment options so they can work with patients to develop the best care plans.
For instance, a person may go to their primary care doctor complaining of joint pain. Depending on the severity, that doctor might suggest an over-the-counter or prescription pain reliever. Based on the level of pain, swelling, redness, and/or if the pain interferes with the ability to walk or perform other tasks, the doctor may send the patient to a specialist or order X-rays. If the primary care doctor specializes in general medicine, or any type of medicine that doesn’t include a background in OA management, chances are good that they received different training on how to handle this situation. The same can be said for other HCPs, like physical therapists, nurses, emergency medical technicians, etc. Due to the attending HCP’s training, a patient may be given very different treatment and disease self-management instruction. Different professional medical societies and organizations promote different OA management guidance.
We want to remedy this and provide patient input into what is most important for OA treatment and self-management. We started the process with our OA Voice of the Patient report — an important report informing us about treatment options that are most important to patients. Currently, our OA virtual Center of Excellence programs are working with other collaborators, like the Osteoarthritis Foundation International (OAFI), to develop consistent OA disease management messaging, regardless of an HCP’s background. This will provide evidence-based tools to codevelop treatment plans. The partnering organizations will continue collecting data from patients, HCPs and researchers, leading to consistent messaging recommendations for better OA disease management. The messaging recommendations may include information about physical activity and weight loss guidance to help patients with self-management of their OA.
“It can be challenging for patients to receive different recommendations, based on their diverse backgrounds, from different HCPs and researchers. Sometimes the advice given to a patient may be inadequate because the HCP has not been trained on the most up-to-date OA management options available,” says Dr. Angie Botto-van Bemden, Arthritis Foundation OA programs director. “Achieving consistent OA disease treatment management messaging based on the needs of patients is one of the Foundation’s most important OA goals.”
Dr. Botto-van Bemden will be representing OA patient perspectives during several symposiums and discussion groups at the 2019 Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) World Congress in Toronto, Canada, May 2-6. She will explain the importance of partnering with OA patients in research design, ensuring development of endpoints that are meaningful to patients. Additionally, Dr. Botto-van Bemden will present the results of two pilot global OA patient perspective studies, which were recently discussed at the 2019 World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases.