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Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have contact with a rheumatologist have better health outcomes than those who do not.1 We found that only 27% of newly suspected cases of RA consulted with a rheumatologist.2 However, this study was based on physician billing data; quality control of diagnostic coding and absence of severity indicators limit the conclusions. We pursued this issue further with patients who had a confirmed diagnosis and were in an early arthritis cohort. We hypothesised that this group would represent a “best case scenario” where the majority would have consulted a rheumatologist within the 3-month recommended window.3 We also explored factors that may be associated with referral, including patient characteristics such as laboratory results (C-reactive protein (CRP), rheumatoid factor),4 5 sociodemographic factors and disease severity,2 6 …
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