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Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Jun;30(6):815-24. doi: 10.1007/s10067-010-1645-6. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Needs and preferences regarding health care delivery as perceived by patients with systemic sclerosis.

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Department of Rheumatology, C-01-Q, Leiden University Medical Center, 2300, RC, Leiden, The Netherlands.


This study aims to examine the needs and preferences regarding the delivery of health care services and information provision and their determinants in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). A questionnaire was sent to 77 SSc outpatients, comprising 27 items on health care needs within the domains physical, psychological, social support, employment/daily activities, or other health problems and 13 items on information needs. Moreover, the patients' preferences regarding the provision of health care services and information were listed. Additional assessments included sociodemographic characteristics, physical functioning (SSc Health Assessment Questionnaire), and quality of life (SF-36). Sixty-four patients (83%) returned the questionnaire. Twenty-six patients (41%) reported one or more unmet health care needs, with the highest proportions of patients with unmet needs seen in the physical (28%) and psychological (20%) domain. The highest percentages of patients with information needs were observed for medical subjects (20-28%). A lower mental component summary scale score and younger age were associated with the presence of at least one health care need in the psychological domain. Worse physical functioning, a diagnosis of diffuse SSc and having a partner were associated with higher information need score. A yearly, standardized multidisciplinary assessment program was most frequently mentioned as a preferred, but not yet existing health care model (59%) and the rheumatologist as a preferred source of information supply (75%). Unmet health care and information needs are common among SSc patients. To improve SSc health care, more attention should be paid to health care services for specific physical and psychological problems and medical information supply by the rheumatologist. In addition, the development of new models of care, such as a yearly, standardized multidisciplinary diagnostic program seems warranted.

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