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How to Make Sure Your Patient with Osteoarthritis Gets the Best Care

Cornelia M. Borkhoff, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Global Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON; Canadian Osteoarthritis Research Program, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, ON.
Gillian A. Hawker, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Chief of Medicine, Women’s College Hospital;
F.M. Hill Chair in Academic Women’s Medicine, University of Toronto; Arthritis Society of Canada Senior Distinguished Rheumatology Investigator, Toronto, ON.

Although total joint arthroplasty (TJA) is a highly effective treatment for individuals with moderate to severe osteoarthritis who have not responded to medical therapy, disparities in TJA utilization based on gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status are well documented. These disparities may be due in part to patient-level factors such as perceptions of, and willingness to consider, TJA. Another possible explanation is that subtle or overt biases may inappropriately influence physicians’ treatment recommendations regarding this procedure. Because of the potential for an increased quality of life among TJA recipients, disparity in rates of use of TJA among individuals with an identified need represents inadequate care. In this article, we make recommendations about how to make sure your patient gets the best care.
Key words: quality of care, osteoarthritis, joint arthroplasty, disparities.