Rheumatology "Treat to Target"

January 2017December 2018

This clinical project is being led by Dr Helen Benham within Metro South Health.  The project involves the development of a web-based tool to help rheumatologists set treatment targets together with their patients for rheumatoid arthritis, a common and incurable chronic inflammatory joint disease. This method is known as “Treat to Target”.

A treat-to-target (TTT) approach in disease management can reduce disease burden, joint damage, and disability, while increasing quality of life for the patient. TTT uses disease-activity measures with certain scores as the “targets” which the patient and clinician aim for. A survey of patients and clinicians was first undertaken to investigate attitudes towards TTT, and based on feedback, the web-based tool for patients and rheumatologists to use in consultations was developed.

Currently, the usability of the tool for patients is being assessed so that changes can be made before wider rollout begins. While in the waiting room, patients will use the web-based tool to rate their level of pain and other patient outcomes on an iPad before going in for their usual rheumatology clinic consultation and continuing interaction with the tool online alongside their rheumatologist. Although there is evidence for the TTT approach, it has not been widely implemented in real-life clinical environments. This research will enable implementation in an easy and accessible way, reducing disease activity and pain for patients, improving function and preventing progression of the disease.

This project is funded by an Arthritis Australia Grant and AbbVie Educational Grant.

Project members

Dr Danette Langbecker

Dr Danette Langbecker

NHMRC Research Fellow
Centre for Online Health