Objective: To determine if showing patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) ultrasound (US) images of their inflamed joints: (i) increased belief in the necessity of medication; (ii) encouraged patient activation, that is, confidence and understanding in managing their health; and (iii) facilitated medication adherence. Method: Eighteen patients aged ≥ 18 years old with active RA (DAS28 [Disease Activity Score of 28 joints] > 2.6) requiring increased immunosuppression were included. The following questionnaires were administered at baseline (T1), 3 days post-US (T2) and 10 days post-US (T3): (i) Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ) to measure the cost-benefit analysis made by patients regarding the necessity versus concern of medication; (ii) Patient Activation Measure (PAM-13) to assess patient activation; (iii) Compliance Questionnaire-Rheumatology (CQR) to measure medication adherence; and (iv) Routine Assessment of Patient Index-3 (RAPID3) to assess physical function, pain and global status. US of ≥ 1 clinically affected joints was performed on one occasion with an explanation of findings. Results: Patient cost-benefit decisions shifted positively following US, that is, favored belief in the necessity of medication with a mean ± SD cost-benefit ratio (possible range − 20 to + 20) at T1 of 1.17 ± 6.10 which increased to 2.54 ± 5.38 at T2 and 4.06 ± 5.76 at T3, P = 0.043 by analysis of variance (anova). PAM-13, CQR and RAPID3 scores remained stable (all P > 0.05 by anova). Conclusion: Showing patients with RA ‘real-time’ US images of clinically inflamed joints resulted in a more favorable cost-benefit analysis, that is, increased patient belief in the necessity of medication versus concern about taking medication. There was no change in patient activation, medication adherence or disease severity.
- rheumatoid arthritis