JointHealth™ insight  Published October 2016

North America’s first on-line classroom designed to educate, empower and graduate today’s modern arthritis patient

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) has launched its newest on-line patient education program called JointHealth™ Education. Designed to enable arthritis patients to progress from being a “student” of arthritis to full-fledged “graduate,” JointHealth™ Education empowers and equips them to be equal partners on their health care team. As part of the launch, ACE is introducing the first course in the program - JointHealth™ Education: Rheumatoid Arthritis - to help patients and their healthcare providers better understand each other’s motivations and goals for the patient’s overall treatment and care plan.

“The RA Narrative Global Patient Survey represents the views of more than 4,000 RA patients around the world, and the views of their healthcare providers in the companion survey, were the road map for the development of JointHealth™ Education. The survey evidence reveals that a patient’s perception of their RA and its treatment, as well as their relationship with their healthcare provider, impacts the management and the outcomes of their disease. It also illustrates that, together, RA patients and their rheumatologists can better communicate and understand one another’s views to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients,” said Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President of Arthritis Consumer Experts and a member of the RA Narrative Global Advisory Panel.

Inspired by RA patients; Informed by global survey
JointHealth™ Education was inspired by many of ACE’s members living with an inflammatory arthritis who have told us they lack the communications expertise to have full, satisfying conversations with their rheumatologists on topics such as treatment options during their clinical visits. The program was also informed by ACE’s participation on a global advisory panel that conducted a survey in 16 countries of rheumatoid arthritis patients and their health care providers. The results illuminate the communications gap between the needs, concerns and fears of patients compared to the views of their health care providers.

Key findings of the RA Narrative Global Patient Survey included:
  • The vast majority of RA patients survey indicated they defined treatment success as no longer being in pain and having little to no inflammation, followed by improvement in their overall quality of life; the healthcare provider survey reported that their goals for their patients were achieving disease remission and/or low disease activity;
  • More than a third of patients surveyed reported they do not take their RA prescription medication as prescribed;
  • Over two-thirds of RA patients reported they felt uncomfortable raising their concerns/fear with the healthcare provider, and over a third strongly agreed or agreed that they worry if they ask too many questions, their healthcare provider would consider them a “difficult patient” and this would affect their quality of care.

Back to school for arthritis patients
These and other important findings from the RA Narrative Global Patient Survey led ACE to seek a made-in Canada solution that focuses on closing the “communication gap” between RA patients and their rheumatologist to help them work as equal partners in disease management. JointHealth™ Education provides current, evidence-informed lessons, quizzes and coaching videos through a secure, on-line classroom where arthritis patients progress from being a “student” of arthritis to full-fledged “graduate.” The program helps prepare patients to appropriately frame their health concerns and questions with their healthcare provider. Upon successful completion of a course, the patient “graduate” receives a certificate indicating they have the knowledge and communication tips needed to successfully prepare for their medical visit, talk to their health care provider about setting treatment goals and making an overall plan, discuss specific treatments (medication and non-medication forms), and manage and monitor their type of arthritis.

Commenting on the program, Kam Shojania, MD, FRCPC, Clinical Professor and Head, Division of Rheumatology, University of British Columbia, Medical Director of the Mary Pack Arthritis Program and one of ACE’s Advisory Board members, said: “Canadian rheumatologists have been actively discussing and pursuing ways to improve communication between patients and rheumatologists in order to work together to set treatment goals and establish a treatment plan to achieve the best possible disease outcomes. JointHealth™ Education is a valuable tool not just for patients, but also for rheumatologists – junior and senior, alike – to better assess the wants and needs of patients through their eyes, not just ours as was the case in days gone by.”

Benefits of being a JointHealth™ Education graduate
The first course offered in ACE’s newest on-line patient education program is JointHealth™ Education: Rheumatoid Arthritis.

When you sign up for a course in JointHealth™ Education, you are on your way to progressing from a “student” of arthritis to full-fledged “graduate,” helping you become an equal partner on your health care team. Because each of us learn at a different pace and through different educational tools, JointHealth™ Education’s lessons, quizzes and coaching videos are designed to allow people with arthritis to learn conveniently from home or during a break at work or school.

When you successfully complete a course, you also gain access to other fact-based resources and communities, further supporting you to self-manage your disease in partnership with your rheumatologist or family doctor.

How does JointHealth™ Education work?
  • Each course contains 6 lessons, and each lesson has three components: a short lesson followed by a quiz, and a lesson “coach” video
  • Each lesson takes approximately 10 minutes to complete
  • Once you complete the lesson reading, you will be asked to take a short multiple choice quiz on it
  • When you pass the quiz, the lesson “coaching” video becomes available
  • After viewing the video, the next lesson becomes available
  • If you wish to take a break before completing the next lesson and log out of the program, it will remember where you left off
  • Lessons must be completed in order, starting from Lesson 1 and ending with Lesson 6
  • When you complete the course, you will receive a JointHealth™ Education Graduate Certificate and be invited to access other research-based information sources and join the JointHealth™ Education Graduate Community

Are you ready for the first course?
Now available online, the first course in the program - JointHealth™ Education: Rheumatoid Arthritis – is designed to help patients living with RA and their healthcare providers better understand each other’s motivations and goals for the RA patient’s overall treatment and care plan.

What You’ll Learn

Lesson 1 – The Art of Communication with Your Rheumatologist

Course description: This lesson addresses research that shows a communication gap exists between patients and rheumatologists, affecting a patient’s treatment results. The lesson components help demystify what happens in the clinical visit and identify tools to ensure patients get what they need out of their appointment. Topics include:
  • Getting ready for your appointment with your rheumatologist
  • Getting comfortable in your rheumatologist’s office
  • Communication warm-up
  • The essentials to effectivew communication with your rheumatologist

Lesson 2 – Understanding your rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis

Course description: A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis can be devastating for a patient. This lesson’s curriculum builds on all the essential facts about the disease and diagnosis to help you become your RA “expert”. Topics include:
  • The facts about rheumatoid arthritis
  • Getting diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Treatment basics for rheumatoid arthritis
  • The latest research on RA

Lesson 3 – Setting treatment goals and building a treatment plan

Course description: The objectives of this lesson is to help patients, and their rheumatologist, better understand and discuss specific goals as part of an overall treatment plan. Topics include:
  • Time management
  • Asking questions, sharing fears and concerns, and listening
  • Setting treatment goals
  • Making a treatment plan

Lesson 4 – Talking about RA treatments

Course description: The content of this lesson focuses on the different treatment options available for people living with RA and what they can do to monitor a treatment’s efficacy. Topics include:
  • Evidence-based RA treatments
  • Making treatment choices with your rheumatologist
  • Sticking with your RA treatments
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of your treatments and treatment plan

Lesson 5 – Self-care and RA
Course description: This lesson looks at the importance of how patients can practice self-care, including learning about what they can control about their RA, and what they can do to maximize the benefits of their treatment plan in between appointments with their rheumatologist. Topics include:
  • Taking charge of what you can control
  • Elements of a self-care plan
  • At-home self care treatments
  • Sharing your self-care success with your rheumatologist

Lesson 6 – Managing your world with RA

Course description: The core curriculum in Lesson 6 focuses on how patients with RA can successfully manage challenges in their personal and professional lives. Patients will learn how to explain RA to their family, friends, co-workers, employers, and even strangers and how to ask for support and deal with intimacy issues. Topics include:
  • Explaining RA to the people in your world
  • RA and its effect on relationships
  • Communication tips to help you in your RA journey
  • Asking for support and help
  • Your sexuality and RA
  • RA at work

Listening to you

We hope you find this information of use. Please tell us what you think by writing to us or emailing us at Through your ongoing and active participation, ACE can make its work more relevant to all Canadians living with arthritis.

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Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE)

Who We Are

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) provides research-based education, advocacy training, advocacy leadership and information to Canadians with arthritis. We help empower people living with all forms of arthritis to take control of their disease and to take action in healthcare and research decision making. ACE activities are guided by its members and led by people with arthritis, leading medical professionals and the ACE Advisory Board. To learn more about ACE, visit:


Over the past 12 months, ACE received unrestricted grants-in-aid from: AbbVie Corporation, Amgen Canada, Arthritis Research Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Celgene, Hoffman-La Roche Canada Ltd., Innovative Medicines Canada, Janssen Inc., Eli Lilly Canada, Merck Canada, Novartis, Pfizer Canada, Sanofi Canada, St. Paul’s Hospital (Vancouver), UCB Canada, and the University of British Columbia.

ACE also receives unsolicited donations from its community members (people with arthritis) across Canada.

ACE thanks funders for their support to help the nearly 5 million Canadians living with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and the many other forms of the disease. ACE assures its members, academic and healthcare professional collaborators, government and the public that the work of ACE is free from influence of its funders.


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