The Arthritis Foundation has over 70 years of collaborative research experience in the U.S. Our reach expanded in 2016 when Ann M. Palmer, president and CEO, and Dr. Guy Eakin, senior vice president of scientific strategy, were instrumental in the Arthritis Foundation becoming a founding member of the OA Foundation International (OAFI) OA Task Force.
Ann explains the importance of this international effort: “The OA Task Force allows organizations to work collaboratively, maximizing resources and creating a stronger common knowledge of OA and its prevention, treatment and disease progression.” The goals of this initiative were 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 Arthritis Foundation, working with many OA patient advocacy organizations around the world, continues to advocate for treatment options that are most meaningful to patients. With this in mind, we worked closely with OAFI as a leading member of an international task force to collect global perceptions about how OA impacts patients. The task force also included members from the Pan-American League of Associations for Rheumatology (PANLAR) in North and South America, patients affiliated with the Italian Society of Rheumatology and other global OA experts.
The task force conducted two studies: the Global Osteoarthritis (OA) Patient Perception Survey (GOAPPS) and a review of global management of patients with knee osteoarthritis and their quality of life (QoL). The results of both studies were presented at several international conferences throughout 2019, including: the April 2019 World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases in Paris; the May Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) 2019 World Congress in Toronto; the June 2019 annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) in Madrid; and the September 2019 Peking University International Osteoarthritis (OA) Forum.
The GOAPPS study directly compared quality of life (QoL) in OA patients 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% of patients asked for additional options for nondrug/nonsurgical treatments. Publication of the results of this study is anticipated later this spring.
The results of the second study — Global management of patients with knee osteoarthritis begins with quality of life assessment: a systematic review — were published in in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders in late fall of 2019. The paper reviewed 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 codevelop more effective treatment plans.
The Arthritis Foundation continues to highlight patient input we received when we started the process with our OA Voice of the Patient report. This important 2017 report captures treatment options most important to patients. It was one of the influential documents used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to draft updated OA research and treatment guidance. We continue to advocate for patients as we work with the FDA to ensure that OA patients’ voices are heard.
Part of the advocacy messaging being shared globally with other OA-related organizations includes what we continue to learn from patients. We’re working to champion development of consistent treatment management messaging for health care providers (HCPs) who interact with OA patients. This will help HCPs, regardless of their specialty or location, develop best care plans based on needs patients express.
It can be challenging for patients to receive different recommendations 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. Patients should be allowed to flourish by receiving consistent messaging regarding treatment options, no matter where they live.
Arthritis patients in the U.S. who would like their voices to make a difference are invited to share their experiences through the Arthritis Foundation’s ongoing Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment. Learn more about the information collected during the first year of the INSIGHTS assessments and why your voice is so important.