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Getting a grip on arthritis: an educational intervention for the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis in primary care

Glazier RH, Badley EM, Lineker SC, Wilkins AL, Bell MJ. J Rheumatol. 2005; 32(1):137-42.


Objective — To evaluate a community-based educational intervention designed to improve the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis in primary care.

Methods — The educational intervention, entitled "Getting a Grip on Arthritis", consisted of a 2-day workshop and followup reinforcement activities for healthcare providers (providers) and was supported by a toolkit of written materials for providers and clients. The content of the intervention was designed around 10 arthritis best practices derived from published arthritis guidelines. Five community health centers (CHC) participated as intervention sites and 2 as control sites. Intervention impact was determined through a mailed survey to clients with arthritis. Primary outcome analysis compared responses to questions about arthritis best practices between intervention and control sites at baseline and followup.

Results — The workshop was attended by 21 multidisciplinary providers from intervention CHC. At baseline, 423 of 624 eligible and consenting clients completed the survey and 376 of 593 completed the followup survey. At followup clients in the intervention group reported significantly higher referrals to The Arthritis Society therapy program, and were more often provided information on type of arthritis, medications and their side effects, disease management strategies, and arthritis community resources.

Conclusion — This demonstration project is one of the first to show changes in the management of arthritis in a primary care setting. This project has recently received funding from Health Canada's Primary Health Care Transition Fund for implementation across Canada and is expected to provide a template for use in other chronic diseases.

Keywords: Arthritis Medical education and training Primary care/clinical practice

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