HealthDay News — A nurse-based phone education intervention can promote shared decision making in patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published online Dec. 5 in Musculoskeletal Care.

Siobhan Farley, R.N., from the University of Vermont in Burlington, and colleagues evaluated implementation of a nurse telephone education program for patients with recently diagnosed RA as a way to promote a treat-to-target approach for clinical management. The study was conducted during November 2015 to December 2016. A toolkit was mailed to each participant, and a rheumatology clinic nurse telephoned patients to offer disease education.

The 26 participants were aged a median of 54 years (range, 22 to 78 years), and the majority were female (65 percent). Calls lasted a median length of 14.5 minutes, with a range of 8 to 23 minutes. The researchers found that patients overwhelmingly supported the nurse calls. Nearly three-quarters of patients (19) adhered their follow-up visit following a nurse call.

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“We found that patients did not fully understand the implications of a diagnosis of RA, and would benefit from more education about their disease and treatment plans, and how to partner successfully with providers in their care,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, which funded the study.

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