October 27th, 2016

// ACE launches JointHealth™ Education

ACE launches JointHealth™ Education

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North America's first on-line classroom designed to educate, empower and graduate today's modern arthritis patient

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) today announced the launch of its newest on-line patient education program: JointHealth™ EducationDesigned to enable arthritis patients to progress from being a "student" of arthritis to full-fledged "graduate," JointHealth Education empowers and equips them to be equal partners on their health care team. As part of the launch, ACE is introducing the first course in the program - JointHealth Education: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - to help patients and their healthcare providers better understand each other's motivations and goals for the patient's overall treatment and care plan.

"JointHealth Education was inspired by many of ACE's members living with an inflammatory arthritis who have told us they lack the communications expertise to have full, satisfying conversations with their rheumatologists on topics such as treatment options during their clinical visits. The program is informed by our organization's participation on a global advisory panel that conducted a survey in 16 countries of rheumatoid arthritis patients and their health care providers. The results illuminate the discord between the needs, concerns and fears of patients compared to the views of their health care providers," said Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President of Arthritis Consumer Experts and a member of the RA Narrative Global Advisory Panel.

Key findings of the RA Narrative Global Patient Survey included:

  • The vast majority of RA patients survey indicated they defined treatment success as no longer being in pain and having little to no inflammation, followed by improvement in their overall quality of life; the healthcare provider survey reported that their goals for their patients were achieving disease remission and/or low disease activity;
  • More than a third of patients surveyed reported they do not take their RA prescription medication as prescribed;
  • Over two-thirds of RA patients reported they felt uncomfortable raising their concerns/fear with the healthcare provider, and over a third strongly agreed or agreed that they worry if they ask too many questions, their healthcare provider would consider them a "difficult patient" and this would affect their quality of care.

These and other important findings from the RA Narrative Global Patient Survey led ACE to seek a made-in-Canada solution that focuses on closing the "communication gap" between RA patients and their rheumatologist to help them work as equal partners in disease management.

"The survey represents the views of 4,000 RA patients around the world and of their healthcare providers in the companion survey, providing ACE the road map for the development of JointHealth Education RA," said Koehn. "This evidence tells us that a patient's perception of their RA and its treatment, as well as their relationship with their healthcare provider, impacts the management and the outcomes of their disease. It shows us that, together, RA patients and their rheumatologists can better communicate and understand one another's views to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients."

JointHealth™ Education provides current, evidence-informed lessons, quizzes and coaching videos through a secure, on-line classroom where they can learn from the comfort of their own home or over the work day lunch hour. The program helps prepare patients to appropriately frame their health concerns and questions with their healthcare provider. Upon successful completion of a course the patient "Graduate" receives a certificate indicating they have the knowledge and communication tips needed to successfully prepare for their medical visit, talk to their health care provider about setting treatment goals and making an overall plan, discuss specific treatments (medication and non-medication forms) to manage and monitor their type of arthritis.

"Canadian rheumatologists have been actively discussing and pursuing ways to improve communication between patients and rheumatologists in order to work together to set treatment goals and establish a treatment plan to achieve the best possible disease outcomes. JointHealth™ Education is a valuable tool not just for patients, but also for rheumatologists – junior and senior, alike – to better assess the wants and needs of patients through their eyes, not just ours as was the case in days gone by," said Kam Shojania, MD, FRCPC, Clinical Professor and Head, Division of Rheumatology, University of British Columbia, and Medical Director of the Mary Pack Arthritis Program.

About Arthritis Consumer Experts

Arthritis Consumer Experts is a national organization that provides free, science-based information and education programs in both official languages to people with arthritis. ACE serves people living with all forms of arthritis by helping them take control of their disease and improve their quality of life through education and empowerment. Founded and led by people with arthritis, ACE also actively advocates on arthritis health and policy issues, through ACE's JointHealth™ family of programs and the Arthritis Broadcast Network, directly to consumers/patients, healthcare professionals, media and government. ACE is guided by a strict set of guiding principles, set out by an advisory board comprised of leading scientists, medical professionals and informed arthritis consumers.


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