Patient input in a digital health application enhances the patient-reported outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis

According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who use a digital health application to evaluate their patient-reported outcomes are more likely to report controlled disease activity.

Dr. Li and colleagues conducted the multicenter, open-label, randomized study to examine the effects of employing a digital application to monitor patient-reported outcomes on disease activity in patients with RA. Patients who were 18 years of age or older and who met the 2010 American College of Rheumatology/EULAR criteria for RA were eligible to take part in the trial. A total of 2,197 patients were involved in the experiment: 1,099 were randomly assigned to the smart system of disease management (SSDM) group, and 1,098 were assigned to the control group. Patients in the SSDM group were more likely to have 28-joint disease activity score (DAS28)-C-reactive protein levels of 3.2 or less at 6 months (71%) compared to the control group (64.5%), a difference of 6.6%, respectively. The control group increased to 77.7% after a year, which was comparable to the SSDM group (78.2%). According to the findings of this study, using a digital health application with patient-reported outcomes was associated with a higher rate of illness control.

A 2019 study evaluated the perspectives of RA patients on electronic communication between-visit disease activity and other patient-reported outcomes. About 31 patients electronically shared the data on disease activity with healthcare providers. Participants were also interested in electronic contact between sessions if it improved opportunities for social support among RA patients and enabled education about symptom management. 

The study findings highlight the positive impact of electronic communication and emphasized the role of social support in improving the outcomes reported by patients with RA. By combining electronic communication with robust social support systems, healthcare providers can enhance patient-reported outcomes and overall well-being for individuals living with RA.


  1. Li C, Huang J, Wu H, Li F, Zhao Y, Zhang Z, Li S, Wei H, Zhang M, Sun H, Yang J. Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis With a Digital Health Application: A Multicenter, Pragmatic Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Network Open. 2023 Apr 3;6(4):e238343-.
  2. Navarro‐Millán I, Zinski A, Shurbaji S, Johnson B, Fraenkel L, Willig J, Danila MI, Yun H, Curtis JR, Safford MM. Perspectives of rheumatoid arthritis patients on electronic communication and patient‐reported outcome data collection: a qualitative study. Arthritis care & research. 2019 Jan;71(1):80-7.