Unmet Demands for Health Care Among Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis: Indications for Underuse?

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the prevalence of unmet health care demands among rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, and to determine if these unmet demands indicate underuse.

Methods

A total of 679 patients with RA participated in a questionnaire survey and clinical examination. Unmet health care demands and health care use were assessed for orthopedic care, allied health care, home care, and psychosocial care. Indications for underuse were determined by comparing health outcomes of patients with unmet health care demands and of health care users.

Results

Of the 679 patients, 28.7% had an unmet demand for 1 of the 4 services: 13.4% for allied health care, 9.7% for orthopedic care, 9.4% for home care, and 6.2% for psychosocial care. Underuse of allied health care, home care and psychosocial care was observed.

Conclusion

Unmet demands for health care are frequent among RA patients. Most unmet demands indicate underuse. Health care professionals should therefore be more responsive to the demands of patients.

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