There is gap between what many Canadians living with arthritis should be doing to help deal with their condition, versus what they feel capable of doing. For people with arthritis, being active physically is a key to managing the disease. Small surprise, then, that more than half of people with arthritis have a hard time keeping up with daily activities. Not enough advice from health professionals, a lack of user-friendly tools for treatment choices, lack of exercise, and failing to properly take medications over fears of side effects all make the problem worse.

Dr. Linda LiThanks to the generous support of its donors, the Arthritis Society awarded Dr. Li, a professor at the University of British Columbia and Senior Scientist at Arthritis Research Canada, a grant to help tackle this problem by providing patients with easier access to health information and advice from health professionals so that they can better self-manage their disease.

Dr. Li’s team has worked with a group of partners to create an e-health program called OPERAS to improve self-management in patients living with Arthritis. The program is made of two parts:

  1. an online journal to record, monitor, and report on differences in symptoms, treatment, and disease activity
  2. telephone counselling with a physiotherapist, and a Fitbit to display physical activity successes

This study will show whether the OPERAS program can positively impact the self-care and activity levels of Arthritis patients. The hope is that this model of care will empower Canadians to better understand their health, seek care when they need it, and most importantly improve their health outcomes.