Purpose of review: To describe the importance of assessing disease activity in general, aiming for significant improvement particularly low disease activity and remission, and the value of employing simplified instruments toward this end in rheumatoid arthritis
Recent findings: Various instruments have either been newly developed, validated or assessed in the recent two years. Additional insights relate to the frequency of attainment of low disease activity and remission in clinical trials and clinical practice, as well as to therapeutic strategies, which involve comprehensive and tight evaluation of disease activity in the adaptation of therapy, including biologicals. All studies assessing these instruments reveal that simplified scores perform at least similar compared with more complex indices, and often better, in the evaluation of disease activity and response to treatment.
Summary: Simplified indices can be routinely used in clinical practice and trials and adaptation of therapy on the basis of tight control of disease activity will lead to improved outcomes of rheumatoid arthritis.