Morning stiffness and other patient-reported outcomes of rheumatoid arthritis in clinical practice

Scand J Rheumatol Suppl. 2011:125:23-7. doi: 10.3109/03009742.2011.566437.


Morning stiffness has been recognized in traditional approaches to assessment of disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although morning stiffness is not specific to RA, changes in morning stiffness for an individual patient are helpful when monitoring health status. Health professionals can ask about morning stiffness but the most accurate and consistent approach to assessment from one visit to the next appears to be a patient self-report questionnaire. However, quantitative measures of patient-reported data are not an integral part of clinical monitoring in most clinics. No single measure is adequate for all individual patients, so quantitative measurement of patient-reported data should include many elements such as pain, functional status, fatigue, sleep, morning stiffness, work capacity, and physical and emotional well-being. In daily clinical practice, patient-reported outcomes can be collected easily using a standard questionnaire that patients can complete with pencil and paper or electronically on a touch screen in the waiting room. The results are then immediately available to the rheumatologists, to facilitate doctor-patient communication to improve the quality of patient care, leading to better patient outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Communication
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation*
  • Fatigue
  • Humans
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Treatment Outcome