Improving healthcare consumer effectiveness: An Animated, Self-serve, Web-based Research Tool (ANSWER) for people with early rheumatoid arthritis Li, Linda C.; Adam, Paul; Townsend, Anne F; Stacey, Dawn; Lacaille, Diane; Cox, Susan; McGowan, Jessie; Tugwell, Peter; Sinclair, Gerri; Ho, Kendall; Backman, Catherine L
Background: People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) should use DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) within the first three months of symptoms in order to prevent irreversible joint damage. However, recent studies report the delay in DMARD use ranges from 6.5 months to 11.5 months in Canada. While most health service delivery interventions are designed to improve the family physician's ability to refer to a rheumatologist and prescribe treatments, relatively little has been done to improve the delivery of credible, relevant, and user-friendly information for individuals to make treatment decisions. To address this care gap, the Animated, Self-serve, Web-based Research Tool (ANSWER) will be developed and evaluated to assist people in making decisions about the use of methotrexate, a type of DMARD. The objectives of this project are: 1) to develop ANSWER for people with early RA; and 2) to assess the extent to which ANSWER reduces people's decisional conflict about the use of methotrexate, improves their knowledge about RA, and improves their skills of being 'effective healthcare consumers'. Methods/design: Consistent with the International Patient Decision Aid Standards, the development process of ANSWER will involve: 1.) creating a storyline and scripts based on the best evidence on the use of methotrexate and other management options in RA, and the contextual factors that affect a patient's decision to use a treatment as found in ERAHSE; 2.) using an interactive design methodology to create, test, analyze and refine the ANSWER prototype; 3.) testing the content and user interface with health professionals and patients; and 4.) conducting a pilot study with 51 patients, who are diagnosed with RA in the past 12 months, to assess the extent to which ANSWER improves the quality of their decisions, knowledge and skills in being effective consumers. Discussion: We envision that the ANSWER will help accelerate the dissemination of knowledge and skills necessary for people with early RA to make informed choices about treatment and to manage their health. The latest in animation and online technology will ensure ANSWER fills a knowledge translation gap, focusing on the next generation of people living with RA.
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