Arthritis self-management programs (ASMPs) are integrated into many clinical practice guidelines and policies, and are the core business of Arthritis Foundations. Australian Arthritis Foundations are embarking on a National Quality Assurance Program which should raise awareness and improve confidence in such programs. ASMPs aim to empower people, improve quality of life while living with chronic disease, increase healthy activities and improve self-monitoring - each of which can assist with clinical management, but can be difficult to evaluate. Although there is modest high-quality evidence of traditional "clinical outcomes" from ASMPs, these programs are strongly endorsed by consumers, are being used as a vehicle for healthcare reform, and have the potential to substantially improve public health. Coordinated national delivery of patient education programs has the potential to improve healthcare and outcomes for people with arthritis.