Objective: To investigate involvement in and satisfaction with health care among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and persons with chronic noninflammatory musculoskeletal pain, to identify target areas for improvement.
Methods: Data were collected from postal surveys carried out in 1994 in Oslo, Norway, with 1,542 patients with RA and 10,000 randomly selected adults. Patients with RA and persons with noninflammatory musculoskeletal pain were asked 3 questions about their involvement with treatment and 1 question about their satisfaction with health care. Levels of involvement and of satisfaction were related to demographic measures, health status measures, use of health services, and, for patients with RA, self-efficacy.
Results: Of the respondents with RA (n = 1,024), 40% scored low on at least 1 question on involvement and 11% reported global dissatisfaction. Being young, well educated, physically disabled, in good mental health, and self-efficient and having visited a rheumatologist in the last 12 months were associated with a high level of involvement; being female and having a low pain level, good mental health, and high self-efficacy were associated with satisfaction with health care. Of persons with noninflammatory musculoskeletal pain of more than 5 years duration (n = 1,509), 57% scored low on at least 1 question on involvement and 27% reported global dissatisfaction. Being well educated, having visited a general practitioner in the last 12 months, and having ever visited a rheumatologist were associated with a high level of involvement. Being older and having a low pain level and good mental health were associated with satisfaction. A low score on involvement was a strong independent predictor of global dissatisfaction in both groups.
Conclusion: High education level and health service provided by rheumatologists were consistently associated with a high level of involvement. Good mental health and high involvement were associated with satisfaction with the care received. Efforts to achieve a higher level of patient involvement should especially be directed toward patients with low education, emotional distress, and a chronic physical disorder.