SAN DIEGO – Researchers in China have developed a new online consultation tool for people with rheumatic disease that eases the process and reduces costs of treatment, according to new research findings presented at the recent American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.
The researchers from multiple institutions collaborated to develop the Smart System of Disease Management, a series of mobile applications based on clinical data and a system that includes online consultation via a mobile app.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the economic feasibility and medical benefits of using SSDM for online consultation with a rheumatologist.
Dr. Fei Xiao, lead author of a study on the research, said more than 100 million people in China with rheumatic disease seek treatment from only about 5,000 rheumatologists, so they end up traveling long distances and extended wait times. The study showed that RA patients trained to use SSDM were able to perform self-management afterward, including disease activity scoring of 28 joints, health assessment questionnaire evaluations, and medication and lab test data entry. The patients also saved money in consultation fees.
The researchers also found that 66.35% of participating patients were satisfied with SSDM.
“SSDM inspires a paradigm shift in medical care for chronic disease through empowering the patient,” said Xiao in a statement. “Based on the trajectory and real-time data, physicians are able to take proactive interventions and turn passive practice into outcome-driven care.”
Xiao said the model can be replicated into the other disciplines and fields of chronic disease.