Arthritis Patients Save Money with Arthritis Courses
A self-help course that helps arthritis sufferers take control of their disease -- and cut pain and medical costs -- is proving significantly cost-efficient by reducing visits to the doctor, a new study says.
Writing in the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers say the Arthritis Self-Help Course (ASHC) program reduced pain by 18 percent and saved $320 in the base-case analysis, while the best-case model reduced pain by 38 percent and saved $1,057 in visits to physicians' offices.
The ASHC consists of a six-week course (two hours weekly) that covers effects and uses of medications, nutrition, patient-physician communication, types of arthritis and appropriate use of injured joints. The program helps arthritis sufferers program their individual physical activity, relaxation and pain management. Patients are urged to contact their personal physician for information on the program's availability.
Researchers say broader use of the course along with conventional therapy can be a highly cost-effective public health intervention, substantially reducing pain while reducing overall costs when compared with conventional medical therapy without an accompanying self-help program.