Comparison of expectations of physicians and patients with rheumatoid arthritis for rheumatology clinic visits: a pilot, multicenter, international study

Int J Rheum Dis. 2012 Aug;15(4):380-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-185X.2012.01752.x.


Aim: To describe and compare expectations of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and their physicians with regard to what is most important to achieve during a rheumatology clinic visit.

Methods: Subjects were RA patients enrolled in four centers from China, one from Japan and one from the USA, and rheumatologists at those centers. The questionnaires were provided at clinics and patients were asked to list their three top priorities for the rheumatology clinic visit. Physicians were contacted separately and asked to give three general expectations, not for specific visits. We classified clinical expectations into a series of 24 terms for patients and 17 for physicians. We compared physicians' to patients' responses, compared expectations among centers in China, Japan and the USA, and evaluated relationships between patients' responses and age, gender, nationality, disease duration and DAS-28 (Disease Activity Score-28).

Results: Patients' clinical expectations for visits focused primarily on control of pain (63.7%), improvement of function (49.3%) and discussion of effects of medication (38.1%). Physicians also included control of pain (59.5%), but also emphasized inquiry about drug side-effects (47.8%) and objective assessment of disease activity (41.4%). We found no differences related to patients' gender, disease duration and DAS-28, but there were some differences related to age and nationality.

Conclusion: We found some agreement and some discordance of clinical expectations between RA patients and physicians. There appear to be some different expectations in different countries. Findings from this pilot survey may help physicians consider patients' expectations in planning rheumatology clinic visits and may lead to further hypothesis-driven studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Management
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physician's Role / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prognosis
  • Rheumatology / standards
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires