Efficacy of embedded nurse-led versus conventional physician-led follow-up in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy of embedded nurse-led versus conventional physician-led follow-up on disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS: In a systematic literature search, we identified randomised controlled trials (RCTs) reporting on the efficacy of nurse-led follow-up on disease control in patients with RA compared with physician-led follow-up. Primary outcome was disease activity indicated by Disease Activity Score (DAS)-28. Secondary outcomes were: patient satisfaction, physical disability, fatigue, self-efficacy and quality of life. Outcomes were assessed after 1-year and 2 year follow-ups.

RESULTS: Seven studies representing five RCTs, including a total of 723 participants, were included. All but one study included stable patients in low disease activity or remission at baseline. No difference in DAS-28 was found after 1 year (mean difference (MD) -0.07 (95% CI -0.23 to 0.09)). After 2 years, a statistically significant difference was seen in favour of nurse-led follow-up (MD -0.28 (95% CI -0.53 to -0.04)). However, the difference did not reach a clinically relevant level. No difference was found in patient satisfaction after 1 year (standard mean difference (SMD) -0.17 (95 % CI -1.0 to 0.67), whereas a statistical significant difference in favour of nurse-led follow-up was seen after 2 years (SMD: 0.6 (95% CI -0.00 to 1.20)).

CONCLUSION: After 1 year no difference in disease activity, indicated by DAS-28, were found between embedded nurse-led follow-up compared with conventional physician-led follow-up, in RA patients with low disease activity or remission.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000481
JournalRMD Open: Rheumatic & Musculoskeletal Diseases
Issue number2
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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