Background Group clinics are an alternative model of care to 1:1 clinic appointments. They have been used extensively in the United States for diverse conditions, including diabetes & hypertension, but have not been used for inflammatory arthritis, or to any great extent in Europe.
Objectives The objectives of this study were to establish the feasibility of group clinics for inflammatory arthritis patients and whether they allow collection of data on key disease outcomes.
Methods Follow up patients with inflammatory arthritis were offered a group clinic, as an alternative to conventional consultant outpatient review. Patients completed a multidimensional health assessment questionnaire and had tender and swollen joints counted on arrival. The group consultation itself included ground rules, selection of topics and discussion. Injections, treatment changes or confidential issues were dealt with after the main session.
Results There were 894 patient attendances at 58 clinics (mean clinic size 15). The sessions were feasible and productive. DAS28 and HAQ scores could be calculated and recorded. The following management options were available: parenteral steroid, joint injection, DMARD change, anti-inflammatories, referrals. Nearly all patients reported they would recommend group clinics to others.
Median (interquartile range) evaluation data were as follows:
Conclusions Group clinics can work in the UK & could be tried across Europe. Patients enjoy them and this study has provided evidence that key outcomes can be collected. The group clinic provides a novel model for both monthly review of early Rheumatoid Arthritis and annual review of stable disease.
Disclosure of Interest None declared