Background: Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are two extremely important rheumatic conditions. These two diseases are a burden to the individual as well as to the society. For the cost-efficient treatment evidence-based treatment concepts are required. One aim of the eumusc.net project, an EU-project, was to provide evidence-based information with easy wording to enable patients to become active partners in their treatment.
Methods: Based on a review of literature, an interdisciplinary and international group of experts, including patient research partners, developed in two Delphi-studies standards of care for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, within the eumusc.net project. Based on the standards of care for osteoarthritis, an innovative and interdisciplinary intervention for hand osteoarthritis was developed and tested in a randomised controlled trial against routine care plus placebo.
Results: The standards of care for rheumatoid arthritis contain sixteen statements for rheumatoid arthritis and the standards of care for osteoarthritis consist from ten statements. For each clinical picture an expert version and a version for laypersons was composed and translated to 23 languages of the European Union to offer evidence based information to a wide range of interested persons. The randomised controlled trial, in which 151 patients could be included showed significant improvement in the intervention group in the primary outcome grip strength, compared to the routine group plus placebo.
Conclusion: When using the method of a Delphi-study, standards of care for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, could be developed and should contribute through the comprehensive translations to the information in Europe. The standards of care for osteoarthritis could be successfully implemented in a treatment concept for hand osteoarthritis and showed significant enhancement of grip strength during a randomised controlled trial in the intervention group.