Rheumatoid arthritis is a common lifelong disease. People with the disease suffer swelling and pain as the disease damages their joints. This leads to disabilities that can affect their ability to do day to day tasks in their personal and work lives.
The best way to slow down the damage caused by the disease is to treat it early. There are many different treatments available, but there are many people for whom each of these treatments does not work. New tests are being developed in laboratories to try and understand which treatments are likely to work for each person with the disease. These tests offer the hope that only the people who are likely to benefit from a treatment will be treated, saving money, and giving patients effective treatment earlier. What is not known is whether these tests can actually improve patient outcomes and save costs in real life.
This study plans to estimate the value to patients and the health system of paying for additional tests to determine which treatments people are given and when.