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June 7, 1995


Author Affiliations

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

JAMA. 1995;273(21):1721-1723. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520450091048

The existence of rheumatology as a subspecialty has recently been questioned. How rheumatology care will be provided in the future largely depends on the demonstration that rheumatologists are more able than generalists to treat patients afflicted with rheumatic disorders effectively. Thus, rheumatologists have joined the ranks of "outcome researchers" and are increasingly involved in this type of research.

Several arthritis-specific instruments have been developed; the ones most commonly used in the United States include the Health Assessment Questionnaire, the Modified Health Assessment Questionnaire, and the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales.1 In addition, generic disease instruments, such as Short Form 36, are being recommended to complement the arthritis-specific instruments because they are better at ascertaining patients' overall quality of life. The Health Assessment Questionnaire, Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales, and the Modified Health Assessment Questionnaire have been used primarily in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but adaptations of these instruments to other

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