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The researchers here at the Institute of Bone and Joint Research (IBJR) are pleased to bring you summaries of the latest research in the musculoskeletal research arena. We will summarise recently published research from around the world and within the IBJR. We’re starting the series off with an in-house research study about an online OA management resource from Australia.
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Today we will be talking about an original research paper titled “The Web-based Osteoarthritis Resource My Joint Pain Improves Quality of Care: A Quasi Experimental Study” which was published earlier this year in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

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Osteoarthritis (OA) is the leading cause of chronic pain and is estimated to affect 1 in 8 adults. Due to the aging population and the increasing rates of obesity in developed countries, it is expected that the incidence of OA will double by the year 2020! Current clinical practice for OA management is often centred on pain relief and eventually surgery despite numerous evidence based guidelines advocating conservative treatment options. The lack of efficiency in practice highlights the need for patients to receive evidence based information about OA outside the clinical encounter. While this is already regularly done in self-management programs to allow patients to play an active role in improving their condition, the use of online platform to distribute the information will have a much wider reach. Hence, the My Joint Pain website was developed.

The research was carried out over 12 months with participants from all over Australia in what is called a quasi-experimental study. This means that instead of being randomised to a group of the study, participants could choose for themselves. Participants filled out an online survey to assess eligibility and if eligible, the questionnaires used in this study. Once the My Joint Pain website was available, participants were informed and were only contacted again after 12 months to fill out the same questionnaires and to provide details of their website usage (to divide them into users and non-users).

The two questionnaires used for this study were the Health Evaluation Impact Questionnaire (heiQ) and the Osteoarthritis Quality Indicator (OAQI).

The heiQ was designed to evaluate the effects of self-management programs in 8 different categories that include health directed activity, emotional distress and health service navigation. This study found that over 12 months, users of the website had greatly improved in most categories where non-users didn’t change. Most interestingly, the only change in the non-users was emotional distress. It appears that by using the website, participants were able to protect their emotional wellbeing by preventing it from deteriorating as is usually seen in people with worsening OA and in our non-users.

The OAQI assessed the appropriateness of care received by patients and evaluates 17 different aspects including disease development, weight reduction, and surgery. Comparing user and non- users showed significant differences in self-management and weight reduction. Many of the significant changes seen (even just within the group) were centred on the more conservative options which suggested that the website was effective in dispersing information about conservative options

To read the full paper and more about the results use this link:http://www.jmir.org/2015/7/e167/

My Joint Pain is free and available at this link https://www.myjointpain.org.au/.

You can also support the research carried out the Institute of Bone and Joint Research here: https://donateplanet.com/charities/read/institute-of-bone-and-joint-research/
All donations above $2 are tax deductible.

Umapathy H, Bennell K, Dickson C, Dobson F, Fransen M, Jones G, Hunter DJ
The Web-Based Osteoarthritis Management Resource My Joint Pain Improves Quality of Care: A Quasi-Experimental Study
J Med Internet Res 2015;17(7):e167
URL: http://www.jmir.org/2015/7/e167
DOI: 10.2196/jmir.4376
PMID: 26154022
PMCID: 4526979

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