Implementation of a treat-to-target remission strategy for rheumatoid arthritis in Australian public and private rheumatology clinics (2016–2017)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common and incurable chronic inflammatory joint disease affecting 2% of Australians. RA is associated with significant disability, decreased work capacity and reduced life expectancy. Treatment options for RA over the past 15 years have increased substantially, significantly altering the approach to the management of RA. Clinical remission or very low disease activity is an evidence based and achievable therapeutic goal in early and established RA. As a result, a `treat-to-target¿ approach similar to those adopted in diabetes and hypertension has been developed. Evidence is very strong for this targeted approach in RA however implementation in routine clinical practice has not occurred. Addressing the gap between the powerful evidence for a treat-to-target approach in RA and implementation in real life clinical environments is fundamental to improve the care of Australians living with RA. Treat-to-target regimes reduce disability, increase quality of life and normalise life expectancy in RA. Addressing this gap will reduce disease activity and therefore reduce pain, improve function and prevent progression of joint damage. This TRIP fellowship in RA treat-to-target strategy, will characterise the local knowledge translation gap from both a clinical and consumer perspective. Following the identification of barriers and facilitators to implementation, an education package and a practice change tool will be tailored and executed. The education package and practice change tool will be monitored and the outcomes will be used to build sustainability and allow widespread uptake in Australian rheumatology 'real life' clinical practice.
Grant type:
NHMRC Translating Research into Practice Fellowships
Funded by:
National Health and Medical Research Council