Objective. To perform a cost-consequence analysis of the substitution of specialized rheumatology nurses (SRN) for rheumatologists (RMT) in the diagnostic process of fibromyalgia (FM), using both a healthcare and societal perspective and a 9-month period. Methods. Alongside a randomized controlled trial, we measured costs and consequences of a nurse-led diagnostic consult (SRN group, n = 97) versus a rheumatologist-led diagnostic consult [usual care (UC) group, n = 96]. Patients were followed for 9 months. Every second month a questionnaire on medical consumption and social participation was filled out. Satisfaction was measured 1 week after the first consultation. During followup, health status was measured by health-related quality of life (EQ-5D), functional status (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire), fatigue (Checklist Individual Strength), and self-efficacy (Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale). Results. Patients in the SRN group were significantly more satisfied. Improvements in health status were similar in both groups after 9 months of followup. Total costs for healthcare consumption and patient and family costs were significantly lower in the SRN group (€1298 vs €1644; difference €346; 95% CI -€746 to -€2). Total societal costs were €3853 per patient for the SRN group and €5293 for the UC group after 9 months of followup (difference €1440; 95% CI -€3721 to €577). Conclusion. From both a healthcare and societal perspective, the nurse-led diagnostic process can be recommended. Patients in the SRN group were significantly more satisfied, improvements in health status were similar in both groups, and total societal costs were lower for the SRN group compared to the RMT group after 9 months' followup. Registered with Current Controlled Trials, no. ISRCTN77212411. The Journal of Rheumatology Copyright

Clinical trial, Costs and cost analysis, Fibromyalgia, Outcome and process assessment
dx.doi.org/10.3899/jrheum.100753, hdl.handle.net/1765/26693
Journal of Rheumatology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kroese, M.E, Severens, J.L, Schulpen, G.J, Bessems, M.C, Nijhuis, F.J, & Landewé, R.B. (2011). Specialized rheumatology nurse substitutes for rheumatologists in the diagnostic process of fibromyalgia: A cost-consequence analysis and a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Rheumatology, 38(7), 1413–1422. doi:10.3899/jrheum.100753