Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 62,
November 2010 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Atlanta, Georgia November 6-11, 2010.

An Interactive Website Reduces the Information Need Regarding the Accessibility of Health Care Services in RA Patients.

Meesters1,  Jorit J. L., Boer2,  Ingeborg G. de, Fiocco2,  Marta, Vlieland1,  Thea P. M. Vliet

Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
Leiden University Medical Center


Sufficient knowledge about health care services is mandatory for effective self-management in RA patients (1). This study concerns the effects of an information intervention regarding the accessibility of 18 regional health care services on RA patients' self-perceived knowledge and information need.


The intervention consisted of a weekly updated interactive internet site covering practical aspects of regional health care services for patients with rheumatic diseases, including an email helpline and a telephone helpline. The intervention also comprised an information kiosk with access to the aforementioned website in the outpatient clinic. Moreover, patients were invited to an information meeting in the hospital, and they received a set of information leaflets based on their individual needs.

A random sample of 400 RA patients from the outpatient clinic of our rheumatological department was asked to fill in a questionnaire before the internet site was launched (T1) and 24 months thereafter (T2) (pretest-posttest design).

The questionnaires concerned socio-demographic data, information need (yes / no), and the level of knowledge (insufficient / sufficient) regarding the accessibility of 18 regional health care services.


251 patients (response rate 63%) and 200 patients (50%) returned the questionnaire before and after the intervention, respectively, with 160 paired observations (112 females (70%), mean age 60.4 (SD9.9)). Table 1 shows the percentages of patients reporting insufficient knowledge or an information need regarding the accessibility of a health care service (T1) and the changes in these percentages (T2-T1) (Mc-Nemar test). Only the results of the top 10 health care services (highest percentages insufficient knowledge at T1) are shown. At T1, the percentages of patients reporting insufficient knowledge were higher than those reporting an information need in all health care services.

Table 1 shows that there is a significant decrease of the patients who reported insufficient knowledge for 2 out of 10 health care services (in total: 2 / 18 services), and for information need 9 out of 10 health care services (in total: 15 / 18 services).

Table 1 Baseline (T1) respondents reporting insufficient knowledge and information need on the accessibility of health care services and changes (T2-T1)

% Insufficient knowledgeSPHNSWPSOTSMPOIGHTEC
(*: significant difference, p <0.05).
SP: Specialized physical therapist, HN: Home nurse, SW: Social worker, PS: Psychologist, OT: Occupational Therapist, SM: Self-management programs, PO: Podiatrist, IG: Intensive Group exercise, EC: Exercise for chronic diseases, HT: Hydrotherapy.


In RA patients an interactive internet site and the tailored provision of written information leaflets appear to decrease self-perceived information need on regional rheumatology health care services. The effects on self-perceived knowledge were limited. These findings suggest that supplying practical information about health care services should play a greater role in the treatment of RA patients. More research into the optimal strategies to inform patients is needed.

This project was financially supported by a ZonMw Research Grant (project no.: 32060125).

Reference List

(1)Coulter, A & Ellins, J. Effectiveness of strategies for informing, educating, and involving patients. BMJ 2007; 335(7609):24-7.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Meesters, Jorit J. L., Boer, Ingeborg G. de, Fiocco, Marta, Vlieland, Thea P. M. Vliet; An Interactive Website Reduces the Information Need Regarding the Accessibility of Health Care Services in RA Patients. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2010;62 Suppl 10 :2284
DOI: 10.1002/art.30047

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