Implementation of Treat-to-Target for Rheumatoid Arthritis in the US: Analysis of Baseline Data From a Randomized Controlled Trial

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2018 May;70(5):801-806. doi: 10.1002/acr.23343. Epub 2018 Apr 12.


Objective: A treat-to-target (TTT) strategy is recommended in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, health care providers' adherence to TTT in clinical practice remains unclear. We examined adherence to TTT in RA at US rheumatology sites.

Methods: We used baseline information from the randomized controlled Treat-to-Target in RA: Collaboration to Improve Adoption and Adherence trial, which recruited 641 patients from 46 providers practicing at 11 US sites. We obtained data on the implementation of TTT, patient covariates, provider characteristics, and site variables. We examined the implementation of TTT using 4 cardinal features: recording a disease target, recording a disease activity measure, engaging in shared decision-making, and changing treatment if not at disease target. These features were assessed across sites and providers. We calculated a TTT implementation score as the percentage of features noted. We examined the association between patient, provider, and site covariates and TTT implementation score using proportional odds models.

Results: The implementation of TTT at baseline was suboptimal: 64.3% of visits had none of the TTT components present, 33.1% had 1 component, 2.3% had 2 components, and 0.3% had all components. The implementation of TTT was significantly different across providers and sites (P < 0.0001 for all). In the multivariable model, we observed that more experience as a rheumatologist was associated with a higher implementation score (P = 0.01 for trend). Compared with fellows, providers with >20 years of experience in practice were more likely to have more TTT components recorded (odds ratio 7.68 [95% confidence interval 1.46-40.52]).

Conclusion: We found that adherence to a TTT strategy in RA was suboptimal, and it differed across providers and sites.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rheumatology / standards
  • Rheumatology / statistics & numerical data*