Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Acquire Sustainable Skills for Home Monitoring: A Prospective Dual-country Cohort Study (ELECTOR Clinical Trial I).
Skougaard M., Bliddal H., Christensen R., Ellegaard K., Nielsen SM., Zavada J., Oreska S., Krogh NS., Holm CC., Hetland ML., Vencovsky J., Røgind H., Taylor PC., Gudbergsen H.
OBJECTIVE: In an eHealth setting, to investigate intra- and interrater reliability and agreement of joint assessments and Disease Activity Score using C-reactive protein (DAS28-CRP) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and test the effect of repeated joint assessment training. METHODS: Patients with DAS28-CRP ≤ 5.1 were included in a prospective cohort study (clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02317939). Intrarater reliability and agreement of patient-performed joint counts were assessed through completion of 5 joint assessments over a 2-month period. All patients received training on joint assessment at baseline; only half of the patients received repeated training. A subset of patients was included in an appraisal of interrater reliability and agreement comparing joint assessments completed by patients, healthcare professionals (HCP), and ultrasonography. Cohen's κ coefficients and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were used for quantifying of reliability of joint assessments and DAS28-CRP. Agreement was assessed using Bland-Altman plots. RESULTS: Intrarater reliability was excellent with ICC of 0.87 (95% CI 0.83-0.90) and minimal detectable change of 1.13. ICC for interrater reliability ranged between 0.69 and 0.90 (good to excellent). Patients tended to rate DAS28-CRP slightly higher than HCP. In patients receiving repeated training, a mean difference in DAS28-CRP of -0.08 was observed (limits of agreements of -1.06 and 0.90). After 2 months, reliability between patients and HCP was similar between groups receiving single or repeated training. CONCLUSION: Patient-performed assessments of joints and DAS28-CRP in an eHealth home-monitoring solution were reliable and comparable with HCP. Patients can acquire the necessary skills to conduct a correct joint assessment after initial and thorough training. [clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02317939)].