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17-11-2017 | Rheumatology | News | Article

Online self-management program boosts JIA HRQoL

medwireNews: An internet-based educational tool developed by Canadian researchers helps adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) to manage their disease and leads to improvements in their health-related quality of life (HRQoL) relative to standard disease education.

A total of 164 participants aged 12–18 years were randomly assigned to complete the self-management program comprising 12 modules on disease education and self-management strategies, the details of which you can hear about in a linked interview with the presenting author Jennifer Stinson (The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario), whereas their 169 counterparts received just standard disease education based on publicly available information. During the 3-month program, health coaches checked in with participants in both groups, but conducted a detailed review of the modules only with those assigned to receive the program.

Over the course of the study, participants who received the intervention reported a significant reduction in pain interference in the enjoyment of daily life compared with those in the control group after adjustments for baseline values, with corresponding overall average scores of 1.03 and 1.62 on the Numeric Rating Scale.

Stinson told medwireNews that the findings were also significant at the 3- and 6-month timepoints in favor of the intervention, with mean scores of 1.13 versus 1.78 and 0.91 versus 1.59, respectively, and approached significance at the 12-month mark (1.04 vs 1.48).

Participants assigned to the intervention group also reported significant improvements in overall HRQoL as assessed by the PedsQL Arthritis Module relative to control participants at 12 months; the average between-group difference was 3.22 points favoring the self-management program arm.

Speaking to the press at the 2017 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, USA, Stinson commented that “[p]roviding credible education about JIA and how to manage it, as well as social support through discussion boards, sharing stories of hope, and health coaching may be key reasons why there were improvements in aspects of health-related quality of life.”

She added that the intervention website is now freely available to the general public.

By Shreeya Nanda

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