Objective: To evaluate the effects of a program for individual education in combination with the use of an arthritis passport.
Methods: We studied 3 groups of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The first experimental group received educational materials and followed the program under the guidance of their regular providers of health care whose activities were coordinated through arthritis passports. The second experimental group only received education materials; the control group received only usual care.
Results: There were no effects on self-efficacy expectations, knowledge, health status, or behavior in either experimental group. Opinions of general practitioners, physiotherapists, and visiting nurses concerning the arthritis passport were very positive, but rheumatologists' opinions were not. Opinions on coordination of care were more positive among the physiotherapists of the experimental group.
Conclusions: Individual education for patients with rheumatoid arthritis by health care providers during routine consultations, as implemented in this program, had no effect on self-efficacy expectations, knowledge, health status, or health behavior. Likewise, the distribution of educational materials by itself without the involvement of health care providers had no effect. The use of the arthritis passport improved coordination of care, especially for physiotherapists.