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October 2021

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 1997 Mar; 9(2): 118-25.

Health services research.

Saag KG.

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242, USA.

Advances in rheumatologic arthritis health services research continue to be of interest to clinical rheumatologists and arthritis researchers interested in healthcare delivery and policy. Recent studies have shown that a higher incidence of osteoarthritis and functional disability among rural inhabitants influences delivery of arthritis care to rural areas and urban-rural variations in specialist distribution. In the United States, managed care organizations are increasingly dictating who delivers and who receives health care for arthritis. Provision of arthritis care by rheumatologists has become more discretionary and is strongly influenced by a patient's health insurance coverage. Coinciding with this trend, a higher percentage of arthritis care is being shifted to primary care providers. Based on prominent practice pattern variations, generalists have divergent knowledge and beliefs about the value of various arthritis treatments. New therapeutic programs have been proposed to better coordinate efforts between generalists and specialists. Many arthritis patients also seek alterative therapies. Of these, chiropractic care is one of the most common nontraditional therapies. Chiropractic management appears to be as cost-effective as traditional back care in certain settings.

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