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Dashboard Platform May Empower Patients with RA

Patient Educ Couns; ePub 2018 Oct 28; Ragouzeos, et al

By presenting data graphically, a “dashboard” may provide a platform for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and providers to communicate around patient reported outcomes (PROs) and shared goals. This according to a recent study that examined how to integrate PROs into the clinical visit on a consistent basis. Researchers aimed to develop a dashboard for patients with RA to display relevant PRO measures for discussion during a routine RA clinical visit. Patients (n=45) and providers (n=12) were recruited from rheumatology clinics at a university center and a safety net hospital. Using a human-centered design process involving patients, clinicians, designers, and health-IT experts, researchers performed interviews, clinic observations, and focus groups. They found:

  • Patients with RA and their providers shared the goals of assessing wellbeing and developing a personalized treatment plan.
  • Conflicting views were found about which data were most important for guiding decision-making and for answering the patient’s overarching question of “Am I OK?”
  • The final dashboard simplified the display of PRO data and correlated it longitudinally to the patient’s medication regimen and included laboratory values relevant for RA care.


Ragouzeos D, Gandrup J, Berrean B, et al. “Am I OK?” using human centered design to empower rheumatoid arthritis patients through patient reported outcomes. [Published online ahead of print October 28, 2018]. Patient Educ Couns. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2018.10.016.


A simple graphical “dashboard” can enhance patients’ knowledge about managing their rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as well as address concerns they may have about adverse effects of their medication. Electronic health records may interfere with patient and physician communication, leading to differing priorities and concerns regarding treatment. Using “human-centered research design,” researchers determined what information was considered most important by patients with RA at routine office visits, and developed a visual dashboard summary of that information. The dashboard features numerical scores of the last 4 office visits with clearly indicated normal ranges for disease activity (CDAI scores), function (PROMIS or HAQ), pain, medication, as well as laboratory values for inflammation, liver function, and kidney function. Since the dashboard can be printed and given to patients before they see the doctor, it can serve as the basis for discussion during their visit.—Harold E. Paulus, M.D.; Emeritus Professor; University of California, Los Angeles; Division of Rheumatology.