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Z Rheumatol. 2014 Mar;73(2):115-22. doi: 10.1007/s00393-013-1258-y.

[Healthcare research in rheumatology. Current state].

[Article in German]

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Programmbereich Epidemiologie, Deutsches Rheuma-Forschungszentrum Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Deutschland,


Health services research in rheumatology investigates the healthcare needs, the quality of care and trends in healthcare for patients with musculoskeletal disorders. Using rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as an example, key results of health services research during the last 25 years are summarized. There are currently approximately 540,000 persons with RA in Germany of which some two thirds are regularly seen by rheumatologists. The data from the national database of the German collaborative arthritis centres show that patients are now seen earlier and to a greater extent. The intensity of drug treatment with synthetic or biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) has increased continuously. At the same time, the mean disease activity (DAS28) has decreased from 4.7 to 3.3 and approximately 50‚ÄČ% of patients treated early achieve remission. Physician-rated disease severity has considerably improved and fewer patients suffer from erosive disease. This corresponds with improvements in functional capacity and work participation. Health services research impressively shows the advances in rheumatological care. Further improvements at the population level are limited by the low numbers of rheumatologists in outpatient care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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