Published online Dec 28, 2020. doi: 10.5499/wjr.v10.i1.1
Peer-review started: June 12, 2020
First decision: October 21, 2020
Revised: October 26, 2020
Accepted: November 4, 2020
Article in press: November 4, 2020
Published online: December 28, 2020
There is a lack of studies and educational programs focused on biosimilars and shared decision-making among patients diagnosed with various rheumatic diseases.
To improve knowledge and awareness of biosimilars and shared decision-making among patients attending rheumatology practices in Colorado as well as to assess a rheumatology patient’s interest in discussing biosimilars as well as shared decision-making with others (e.g., medical professionals, family members, friends).
Our goal was to work with 80 rheumatology teams in Colorado. We developed and distributed 2000 multi-page brochures to each participating office and later conducted an online anonymous survey.
There were a total of 49 (2.5%) rheumatology patients who responded to our survey. After reading our educational booklet, many survey respondents identified the correct answer in most questions focused on biosimilars or shared decision-making. Our survey results suggest that patients attending rheumatology practices in Colorado are generally not involved in discussions with their providers regarding treatment plans or options. The improvement in scores after reading our educational materials was statistically significant for biosimilars and shared decision-making.
Overall, the level of knowledge and awareness of biosimilars and shared decision-making among patients attending rheumatology practices in Colorado was low. More educational programs as well as follow up trainings to measure changes in knowledge and awareness regarding biosimilars and shared decision-making among patients attending rheumatology practices are recommended.
Core Tip: What is already known about this subject? Clinical research indicates that the introduction of biosimilars will not compromise either efficacy or safety for patients with rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately, there is a lack of knowledge and awareness regarding biosimilars among these patients. Very limited research of rheumatology patients’ knowledge, and awareness of biosimilars and shared decision-making, as well as motivation to learn more about these subjects exists. What does this study add? Consistently with several other studies, many patients attending rheumatology practices in Colorado have a low level of knowledge and awareness of shared decision-making and, especially, biosimilars. Moreover, most of these patients do not engage in important discussions regarding treatment plans or options with their doctors. As our survey respondents gained knowledge about biosimilars and shared decision-making from our printing materials it seems that educational programs enriched with printed materials may impact patients’ knowledge and awareness of biosimilars as well as shared decision-making. How might this impact on clinical practice or future developments? As we have become aware of which style of learning our survey respondents prefer regarding biosimilars and shared decision-making, we believe that prospective projects will benefit not only from booklets, but also from online presentations and webinars. Based on our current study results, we recommend adding more survey questions focused on shared decision-making such as discussing treatment plans and options with doctors.