Objective: Treat-to-target (T2T) and shared decision-making are valued features of current guidelines for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) management. Although T2T has demonstrated value for improving RA outcomes, implementation remains inconsistent and lacks standardization and procedures for including patient input. We sought to better understand the impact of shared decisions on T2T and how treatment goal discussions between patients and providers impact RA treatment improvement and satisfaction. Methods: An anonymous, web-based questionnaire was presented to United States residents aged 18 years or older with a self-reported diagnosis of RA by a medical professional with 28 questions regarding socio-demographics, RA disease activity (DA), diagnosis, treatments, outcomes, and goals. Analyses included descriptive statistics with χ2 and rank sum tests for comparisons. Results: The questionnaire was completed by 907 people (mean age of 58 years; mean 11 years since diagnosis; 90% female). The majority (571; 63%) did not discuss RA treatment goals with providers. Patients engaging in treatment goal discussions with their providers were three times more likely to be satisfied with their treatment plans. Patients discussing treatment goals with their providers were more likely to have improved DA levels and 68% more likely to reach remission. Conclusion: A majority of patients with RA report having no treatment goal discussion with their providers; however, these discussions are associated with greater DA improvement and treatment satisfaction. Further research should seek understanding of how shared treatment goal discussions relate to successful RA management and explore the development of practical tools to implement them in regular clinic practice as part of a T2T regimen.
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