Background The Swedish Rheumatism Association has in collaboration with Netdoktor.se, Sweden's leading public portal for health issues, developed an online test with the aim of improving public awareness of osteoarthritis. There are many myths surrounding osteoarthritis that we need to address, for example that osteoarthritis is just something one needs to accept rather than it being treatable.
Objectives There is a lack of knowledge in the Swedish society about osteoarthritis. With this online test we want to improve the understanding of the condition. Without basic knowledge it is hard for a patient to demand one's right in the health care system.
Methods The Swedish Rheumatism Association has in collaboration with Netdoktor.se put together a team of experts to review all information in the test. The experts have different backgrounds from both the medicine, IT and PR.
Results This far the test has been very successful, a total of 9 720 individuals have completed the whole test and 35 388 have visited the website for more information.
The test shows that among women with symptoms of osteoarthritis, who had sought medical advice, only 40% have received any explanation on what may cause their joint pain. And out of these women, 23% use naturopathic drugs for their condition. The numbers are almost the same for men; only 41% have received an explanation on what may cause their joint pain and 20% uses naturopathic drugs.
Out of the category which already has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, 62% have not been invited to join an evidence based supportive osteoarthritis self-management program lead by a physiotherapists. The program helps the patient to gain knowledge to improve their health condition, a program which the Swedish Rheumatism Association recommends.
Conclusions The Swedish Rheumatism Association is able to use the different statistic that the test generates to raise awareness about osteoarthritis. Approximately 800 000 Swedes suffer from osteoarthritis in one or more joints. It is in other words a huge public health issue and more needs to be done for a better care of this patient group. Our aim is that the health care system will increasingly recommend their patients to the supportive osteoarthritis self-management program.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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