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J Rheumatol. 1995 Jun;22(6):1141-8.

Team managed outpatient care for early onset chronic inflammatory arthritis.

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Rheumatology Treatment and Resource Center, Park Nicollet Medical Foundation, Minneapolis, MN 55416, USA.



To determine whether an outpatient team management program for persons with early chronic inflammatory arthritis would produce improved clinical outcomes and lower costs than traditional, nonteam outpatient rheumatologic care in a clinic setting.


One hundred eighteen patients with chronic inflammatory arthritis were randomly assigned to a team managed outpatient care program (TEAMCARE) or to traditional, one on one, nonteam managed rheumatologic care (TRADCARE). The TEAMCARE program consisted of a half day educational program, a needs assessment intake interview, and quarterly telephone calls, monthly team meetings, and routine rheumatologic care. TRADCARE patient received unconstrained, routine primary and specialty outpatient care as practised typically by rheumatologists at this large multi-specialty clinic. All patients had numerous physical and laboratory outcome assessments by rheumatologists at office visit. Every 6 months, patients completed several self-report measures of functional status, pain, psychosocial status, and costs.


One hundred seven patients completed one year of study participation. No significant differences were found between groups in measures of physical status, physical functioning, psychosocial status, or pain. There were no differences between groups in economic or utilization measures.


This team managed outpatient program for persons with recent onset chronic inflammatory arthritis afforded no advantage to routine outpatient care, characterized mainly by one on one relationships between patients and primary care doctors and rheumatologists, in our active outpatient clinical environment.

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