Transition questions to assess outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis.
Fitzpatrick R., Ziebland S., Jenkinson C., Mowat A., Mowat A.
The importance of patient-based assessments of outcomes of care in RA is increasingly recognized. There are a number of methods of gaining such data. One method is to request patients to assess change in health status by means of transition questions. This is considered advantageous to other methods because is directly addresses perceptions of change over time and is short and simple. One hundred patients with RA completed a range of clinical, laboratory and health status assessments on two occasions 3 months apart. On the second occasion they also completed a transition question. Results show the question to be valid and to correlate with a number of different changes obtained from assessments. Psychological mood did not appear to influence transition judgements. A small minority of patients experienced changes for specific dimensions of health status in the opposite direction of the transition item. Transition judgements may have an important role in evaluation studies and audit.