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Special Communication
June 9, 1978

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis: Evaluation of a Patient Education Program

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Rheumatic Diseases, Palo Alto Medical Clinic (Dr Kaye); the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine (Dr Kaye); and the Health Education Center (Ms Hammond), Palo Alto, Calif.

JAMA. 1978;239(23):2466-2467. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280500062022

We evaluated a patient education program on understanding rheumatoid arthritis; 94% of those responding to our questionnaire considered the program helpful in increasing their understanding of their condition, and 93% said it enhanced their communication with their family.

A total of 85% reported one or more behavioral changes, such as not abusing joints (63%), getting more rest (56%), and using medications more meticulously (48%) after participating in the program.

We recommend patient education as an effective means of helping patients understand and hence comply with physicians' instructions, as well as helping patients to assume greater responsibility for their own health care.

(JAMA 239:2466-2467, 1978)