Evidence-based guidelines emphasize that adequate management of osteoarthritis (OA) requires a combination of both medical and behavioral modalities. However, many of the recommended guidelines are not regularly incorporated into clinical practice, and the recommended behavioral strategies (e.g. exercise and weight management) are not practiced by most patients. The objective of this study is examine the effectiveness of a combined intervention for patients (involving exercise, weight management, and cognitive behavioral pain management) and providers (involving provision of patient-specific recommendations for care, based on evidence-based guidelines) for improving OA-related outcomes in a real-world VA clinical setting. To our knowledge this is will be the first study to intervene at a both the patient and provider levels for managing OA. This will be a randomized controlled trial of n=300 patients with symptomatic knee or hip OA, with equal assignment to 2 study arms: 1) Patient and Provider Intervention for OA and 2.) Usual Care Control. We will randomize 30 primary care providers at the Durham VAMC and affiliated community based outpatient clinics to either intervention or control groups. We will then enroll 10 patients from each provider (5 White, 5 Non- White). The patient component of the intervention will be a twelve-month program that includes the following elements: written educational materials (focused on exercise, weight management, and cognitive behavioral pain management), an exercise video tailored for patients with lower extremity OA, and telephone calls by a counselor to support behavior change. The provider component of the intervention will involve giving information on patients' OA symptoms and treatment, as well as patient-specific evidence-based recommendations for care. Providers will have access to this information, as well as facilitated referrals for patient-specific treatment recommendations (e.g. physical therapy, orthopedics), at the point of clinical care, via electronic medical records. The primary time point for outcome assessment will be at 12-months. We will also assess a limited set of outcomes via telephone at 6-months. The primary outcome will be the Western Ontario and McMasters Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Secondary outcomes will include objective physical function (Short Physical Performance Test) and depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory). The main study analyses will compare outcomes between the intervention and control groups. We will also assess the cost-effectiveness of the intervention.

Public Health Relevance

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common chronic conditions and a leading cause of disability among veterans. Many veterans with OA have significant pain and functional limitations, even though they receive some medical care for their OA. Efforts are needed to help veterans to improve OA-related outcomes. This study will examine a comprehensive approach to helping veterans manage their OA-related symptoms, in the context of a VA clinical setting. The study examines an intervention aimed at helping veterans with behaviors that are known to improve OA-related pain and function (such as exercise, weight management, and coping with pain), as well as helping providers to implement evidence-based recommendations for clinical care. The intervention is relatively low cost and easy to disseminate, with the patient component being telephone based. Therefore, if effective, this intervention could be implemented widely across the VA healthcare system.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Veterans Affairs (VA)
Non-HHS Research Projects (I01)
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HSR-1 Medical Care and Clinical Management (HSR1)
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Durham VA Medical Center
United States
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Zullig, Leah L; Bosworth, Hayden B; Jeffreys, Amy S et al. (2015) The association of comorbid conditions with patient-reported outcomes in Veterans with hip and knee osteoarthritis. Clin Rheumatol 34:1435-41