Are We on the Same Page? A Cross-Sectional Study of Patient-Clinician Goal Concordance in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2023 Mar;75(3):625-633. doi: 10.1002/acr.24794. Epub 2022 Nov 16.


Objective: Patient-clinician goal concordance is associated with improved outcomes in certain chronic diseases but not explored in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We examined goal concordance, correlates of concordance, and the association of concordance with health outcomes.

Methods: Adult patients with RA seen at least 1 time in the prior 12 months at 1 of 2 rheumatology clinics participated. Patients and their clinicians independently ranked top 3 goals for RA treatment from 8 options before a routine visit. Patients completed postvisit surveys on health, demographic information, health literacy, and adherence. Goal concordance was defined as the patient's number 1 goal being among the clinician's top 3 goals for that patient. Bivariable and multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine correlates of concordance.

Results: Patients were 58% female and 16% Spanish-speaking, and 29% had limited health literacy. Among 204 patient-clinician dyads, 20% were goal-discordant. "Have less pain" was selected by both patient and clinician in 81% of dyads, followed by "have fewer problems doing daily activities" by 63%. Otherwise, clinicians prioritized avoiding side effects, whereas patients ranked improved sleep, fatigue, and mood. Longer disease duration was associated with discordance (median 13.3 years, interquartile range [IQR] 5.2-20 among discordant vs. 7 years, IQR 4-14; P = 0.039); higher depressive symptoms were associated with concordance (8.1% vs. 24%; P = 0.04). Goal concordance was associated with higher medication adherence (adjusted odds ratio 2.76 [95% confidence interval 1.01, 7.56]).

Conclusion: One in 5 patient-clinician dyads had discordant treatment goals. Goal concordance was associated with higher medication adherence. Studies to improve goal elicitation and communication of patients with RA's priorities are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Communication
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires