Kelly’s Presentation at This Year’s ACR Meeting

Kelly’s Presentation at This Year’s ACR Meeting

Importance of Discussing RA Treatment Goals: Patients Report Providers Seldom Discuss Treatment Goals and Outcomes Improve When Goals Are Discussed

by Kelly O'Neill

Since its inception, RPF has worked to bring the realities of the patient experience to rheumatology professionals. There have been many ways that we have communicated the patient voice and worked to build bridges between patients and rheumatologists, but the most prominent has often been our participation in the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. My last post gave you an overview of what we planned for this year’s ACR meeting in Atlanta, GA.

A talk at ACR about RA patient experiences

Now that the meeting is over, we can talk in more detail about some ways that we presented our recent research on patient experiences. On November 12th, I gave a talk called Importance of Discussing RA Treatment Goals: Patients Report Providers Seldom Discuss Treatment Goals and Outcomes Improve When Goals Are Discussed (click here to see the abstract on the ACR website).

I had previously spoken at the ACR meeting a couple of times, and also presented data posters, but this was the first time I’d been invited to give an Oral Presentation of data. This was a great opportunity that I shared with our whole team! The session was well attended and people seemed genuinely interested in our data.

What did our data show us?

First, we learned most patients surveyed (63%) had not discussed RA treatment goals with their rheumatology clinicians. However, most patients (79%) wanted to have these discussions and would like to use a tool to help them set treatment goals together with their doctors. As a matter of fact, people wanted to set goals with their providers no matter what their previous response to treatment had been and regardless of whether they had goal-setting discussions in the past.

Second, we learned that people with rheumatoid disease (PRD) who do have RA treatment goal discussions with their clinicians tend to have lower levels of disease activity and more improvement from treatments.

Third, PRD who do have treatment goal discussions are more than three times more likely to be satisfied with their rheumatology care!

Is there more to tell?

Yes! Some other questions in the survey resulted in a poster about disease patterns in RA. Stay tuned for more details on that and our other publications.

We also asked some open-ended questions in our survey, so we look forward to learning more about what patients want or need from RA treatment goals by studying what they wrote in those responses.

Thank you to every PRD who completed the questionnaire, helping us to learn from your experiences. And, of course, we thank every supporter of RPF and the rheumatology team members at Mayo Clinic for collaborating with us over the years and on this project.

Thanks to our sponsor, Scipher Medicine!

RPF would like to thank our sponsor, Scipher Medicine, for helping to cover the costs to attend this year's ACR Annual Meeting. We are grateful for their support of our mission and the work that they are also doing to improve the lives of people with RD.

Scipher MedicineTM holds a fundamental conviction that patients with autoimmune diseases deserve a simple answer to their treatment options using scientifically-backed data. The company’s mission is to get patients the right drug from day one by developing tests that predict non-response to targeted therapies, starting with rheumatoid arthritis.  Scipher’s PrismRATM is a simple blood test, currently in a clinical trial, that identifies patients who won’t respond to anti-TNFs before starting their first biologic therapy, potentially giving these patients access to alternative approved targeted therapies sooner. Many RA patients take anti-TNF therapies, yet most of them do not respond adequately.  Scipher is determined to find these patients and get them the right drug from day one. To learn more, visit

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