Rheumatoid Arthritis

This module will help practices apply the medical home attributes to the care of patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Why is this important?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common chronic inflammatory arthritis, affecting approximately 1% of adults.  RA patients because of their immunosuppressive medications and their substantial propensity for cardiovascular morbidity, infections and osteoporosis can provide unique challenges to primary care physicians (PCP).  This module will address the important aspects of providing optimal primary care for this important patient population. This focus should be on tailoring management of co-morbid conditions (cardiovascular and bone), unique immunization considerations for this group of immune-suppressed patients and timely recognition of potentially life-threatening complications of therapy.  Additionally, this module will briefly cover the identification of early inflammatory arthritis and appropriate timely referral to rheumatologists. Finally, RA is three times more common in woman and often has onset in the childbearing years, so it is important to address unique issues of pregnancy in RA and with the medications used.

How will these tools help?

When the recommendations below are fully implemented, patients with RA will be diagnosed earlier, have better cardiovascular outcomes, better bone health, higher immunization rates and thus decreased morbidity and mortality from infections.  This module is primarily directed at the appropriate care of patients with a known diagnosis of RA that should be provided by PCPs and addresses the important topic of early identification and diagnosis of RA only briefly.  Further, the treatment of the RA itself is not addressed here in detail as it should be managed by a rheumatologist.

Target Audience

Target Audience

  • Physicians
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Registered Nurses
  • Medical Assistants
  • Practice Managers
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 Attendance
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Parent activity set: 

James R. O'Dell, MD, FACP, is Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE.  Dr. O’Dell has published extensively, mostly in the area of rheumatoid arthritis.  He is the author of this module.

This module was funded by an educational grant from the Arthritis Foundation.


This module was funded by an educational grant from the Arthritis Foundation.




Available Credit

  • 1.00 Attendance


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