Facilitating the Use of COBRA Combination Therapy in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Pilot Implementation Study

Department of Rheumatology, EMGO Institute, and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The Journal of Rheumatology (Impact Factor: 3.19). 07/2009; 36(7):1380-6. DOI: 10.3899/jrheum.081078
Source: PubMed


COBRA combination therapy is well known and has uncontested efficacy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, it is infrequently applied in Dutch clinical practice. Based on qualitative research on opinions of physicians and patients towards COBRA therapy, our study describes the development and pilot testing of an implementation package to facilitate prescription and use of COBRA therapy in early RA.
The implementation package was developed to address specific barriers towards prescription of COBRA therapy and comprised informational handouts (an information booklet and leaflet for patients), preprinted prescription orders, and background information on COBRA therapy for the rheumatologists. Twenty-two rheumatologists agreed to participate, including the arthritis nurse where available. Rheumatologists, nurses, and patients were asked to record their experience. All Dutch arthritis nurses were invited to an educational session on COBRA therapy.
Sixteen rheumatologists accompanied by 10 arthritis nurses used the material to prescribe COBRA therapy to a total of 27 patients. Rheumatologists and nurses both gave high marks to the supplied materials. Eighty-eight percent of rheumatologists reported that the material sped up the prescription process, and 65% indicated they would prescribe COBRA therapy more frequently if these materials were available routinely. Patients expressed great satisfaction with the information handouts, rating it 2.8 (standard deviation 0.5) on a scale of -3 (very negative) to +3 (very positive). Most patients (89%) planned to keep the information booklet as a reference and 70% used it as a tool to remember the correct intake of medication. The attitude and perceived capability of nurses towards the guidance of patients with RA receiving COBRA therapy was improved through a brief educational intervention.
Rheumatologists, patients, and arthritis nurses all highly appreciated the implementation package and indicated that its availability would increase uptake of COBRA therapy.

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