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Rheumatology Care Derailed by COVID-19

Apr 06, 2021 5:57 pm

A survey study from the  ArthritisPower PPRN or CreakyJoints database shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic patient care was substantially affected in unforeseen ways.

Data from the ArthritisPower Patient-Powered Research Network and CreakyJoints patient community were gathered by surveys of US patients with RA, PsA, AS, and SLE. 

A total of 1517 participants (925 RA, 299 PsA, 185 AS, 108 SLE).  Patients voice frequent COVID-19 concerns, even moreso in those who were biologic users (P < 0.001).

Many avoided doctor’s visits (56.6%) or lab testing (42.3%) and telehealth use (29.5%), especially in urban areas.

Patients without COVID stopped a DMARD use (15%) with more than three-quarters of these DMARD interruptions not recommended by a physician.

DMARD stopping was more common in:

  • Lower socioeconomic status (SES) patients
  • Patients who avoided an office visit (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.04–2.04)
  • Patients without telehealth availability OR 2.26 (95% CI 1.25–4.08).

In the early months of COVID-19, patient care was substantially altered, with patients having to make difficult decisions about their meds, routine testing and medical visits. 

The question is - how could this have been avoided?  or what will the consequences be?



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The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject