Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious disease associated with increased morbidity and mortality, and requires adequate routines for therapy and follow-up examination. This article presents the work of the Norwegian Society for Rheumatology to improve the quality of the therapeutic assessment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis in Norway. The process of reaching an agreement involved a large number of rheumatologists. The final meeting included a variety of activities, plenary lectures, workshops, group discussions and opinion polls. A literature search through Medline was provided continuously. Agreement was achieved on a programme for monitoring therapy with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, which was to comprise visits to the physician and laboratory tests. This programme was later voted on and affirmed by the Annual Meeting of the Norwegian Society for Rheumatology. Proposals were issued regarding endpoint measures to assess progression of the disease. These proposals can be expected to improve the quality of treatment and management of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, both in primary health care and in the specialized rheumatological health service.