Telemedicine used by people with higher rheumatoid arthritis activity

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telemedicine, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis digest, arthritis researchVideo telemedicine is more likely to be used by people with rheumatoid arthritis who have higher disease activity, positive expectations of the technology and whose healthcare professionals have used it more often, according to findings in Arthritis Care & Research.

A research team recruited 122 adults who had been seen either in person by a rheumatologist or via telemedicine.

Participants completed a telemedicine perception survey and their medical records reviewed. The researchers analysed data from this visit to describe which factors were associated with telemedicine use in rheumatoid arthritis.

A total of 56 of the 122 participants (46%) had used telemedicine at least once. Factors associated with its use included higher scores of disease activity, more rheumatology visits the year before, a more positive perception of telemedicine and seeing a doctor who uses telemedicine more often.

“Telemedicine is increasingly being incorporated into the clinical practice of rheumatology,” Dr Elizabeth Ferucci, who is involved in the work explained to Healio Rheumatology. “The findings suggest that patient and provider perceptions of telemedicine both influence how likely patients are to accept this as an option when offered as part of usual care. In addition, the association of higher number of visits and RAPID3 score with telemedicine use suggest that higher disease activity may change the balance of perceived benefits to favor telemedicine. These findings may be useful to others planning to initiate tele-rheumatology programs.”

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