Integrated healthcare models for rheumatoid arthritis: A descriptive systematic review

Research article published on Sage journals. 2019 March 20

AUTHORS: Valentina Vodopivec, Bert Vrijhoef HJM.


Integrated people-centred care is a modern approach for addressing healthcare issues related to demographic changes, increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, and restricted resources. By providing an overview of integrated care models for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, we aimed to offer insight into the strategies and interventions that are being used for designing and implementing integrated models of care for this patient group, and their outcomes.

We conducted a systematic literature search of peer-reviewed literature available in English and published between 2013 and 2018, using three databases: Cochrane, PubMed and EMBASE. We analysed the publications based on the Framework on integrated people-centred health services and the Triple/Quadruple Aim framework.

We identified 1271 records. After screening, 50 articles met the criteria for inclusion in the review. Approaches for improving patient empowerment, engagement and experience of care were most prevalent in the identified care profiles. Similarly, frequently reported outcomes were related to improvements in patients’ experience of care and their health status. Most of the studies we reviewed did not demonstrate notable improvements from the perspective of cost-effectiveness or benefits for the healthcare workforce.

Our findings suggest that for rheumatoid arthritis, integrated care is in the early stages of development. Strategies focusing on patient outcomes and patient satisfaction were found to be prioritised. Future initiatives aiming to redesign rheumatology care should adopt systems thinking perspective to better address all of the building blocks of people-centred integrated care.

Keywords: Arthritis, rheumatoid, delivery of health care, integrated, patient-centred care, systematic review