Objective: To evaluate the short-term effects of use of the dr. Bart app, compared to usual care, on the number of secondary health care consultations and clinical outcomes in people with knee/hip OA in the Netherlands.
Method: A randomized controlled design involving participants ≥50 years with self-reported knee and/or hip OA recruited from the community. The number of secondary health care consultations (primary outcome) and secondary outcomes were assessed at baseline, 3 and 6 months via online questionnaires. Data were analyzed using longitudinal mixed models, corrected for baseline values. Due to the design of this study, blinding of participants and researchers was not possible.
Results: In total, 427 eligible participants were allocated to either the dr. Bart group (n = 214) or usual care (n = 213). We found no difference between groups in the number of secondary (i.e., orthopaedic surgeon, rheumatologist, or physician assistant) health care consultations (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.20 (95% CI: 0.67; 2.19)). We found positive treatment effects of the dr. Bart app on symptoms (2.6 (95% CI: 0.4; 4.9)), pain (3.5 (95% CI: 0.9; 6.0)), and activities of daily living (2.9 (95% CI: 0.2; 5.6)) on a 0–100 scale, higher score indicating less complaints, but not in any other secondary outcome.
Conclusion: The dr. Bart app did not change the number of secondary health care consultations compared to usual care. However, we found small positive effects (not clinically relevant) on pain, symptoms, and activities of daily living in people with knee/hip OA. Trial registration: Dutch Trial Register (Trial Number NTR6693/NL6505) (https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/6505).
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