Composite indices or pooled indices are useful tools for the evaluation of disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They allow the integration of various aspects of the disease into a single numerical value, and may therefore facilitate consistent patient care and improve patient compliance, which both can lead to improved outcomes. The Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI) and the Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) are two new tools for the evaluation of disease activity in RA. They have been developed to provide physicians and patients with simple and more comprehensible instruments. Moreover, the CDAI is the only composite index that does not incorporate an acute phase response and can therefore be used to conduct a disease activity evaluation essentially anytime and anywhere. These two new tools have not been developed to replace currently available instruments such as the DAS28, but rather to provide options for different environments. The comparative construct, content, and discriminant validity of all three indices--the DAS28, the SDAI, and the CDAI--allow physicians to base their choice of instrument on their infrastructure and their needs, and all of them can also be used in clinical trials.