May 19, 2016
1 min read

Global survey reveals dissonance in physician-patient communication for RA management

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Global surveys assessing the relationship between physician-patient communication and overall rheumatoid arthritis disease management revealed disconnects between patients and physicians across multiple aspects of management, according to a report released by Pfizer.

Overall, 3,987 adults with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 15 countries participated in an online patient survey between September 2014 and January 2016. In addition, 1,736 rheumatologists who had seen at least five patients in the past month with moderately to severely active RA participated in an online physician survey between August 2015 and October 2015.

Data from the physician survey showed that although clinical assessments of patients indicated active disease, two in three physicians noted their patients with RA said they feel “good enough.” According to a company press release, a comparison of the two surveys showed 78% of physicians believed setting treatment goals and 74% believed developing a disease management plan with their patients is essential for the successful management of RA. However, results from the patient survey showed few patients have shared their treatment goals or realize they have a disease management plan in place.

Results from the surveys revealed more than half of patients reported feeling uncomfortable raising concerns and fears with their physicians and many worried that if they asked too many questions, it would affect their quality of care even though both patients and physicians noted satisfaction with communication about RA treatment. Although more than half of patients were worried their RA would negatively affect their overall quality of life, physicians were more likely to discuss side effects and their patients’ ability to adhere to their prescribed medication regimen vs. quality of life issues, the release noted. While four in five physicians believed patients who participate in support groups tend to be better able to live with RA, according to the release, the surveys also showed less than one quarter of patients currently participate in a support or patient advocacy group.