This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.
Nonpharmacologic and team care research present unique design challenges. Nonpharmacologic care by nature is multifaceted and complex. Rarely do patients receive an intervention in isolation. The delivery of a single or group of interventions can be provided by one provider but is frequently provided by teams. Therefore, it is imperative that clinical researchers design studies that evaluate single and multimodal interventions as well as studies that best reproduce the team model of service delivery to accurately examine interventions. While it is well accepted that the research question drives the design, it is imperative to recognize that certain aspects of nonpharmacologic and team care restrict the implementation or effectiveness of specific design components. For example, as patients are required to actively engage in lifestyle changes, double-blinding cannot be employed. In addition, there is no accepted operational definition of team care in arthritis. It is important to keep in mind the characteristics of these interventions in the selection of a research design and develop strategies to best examine these interventions. Combining aspects of randomized controlled trials with qualitative methods is one technique to enrich data collected on these interventions. Certain features of pharmacovigilance studies may also serve as an alternative model. The use of national or regional registries for longterm clinical followup as seen in orthopedic surgery may prove to be applicable in the design of studies for evaluation of team care. Our article will discuss issues related to the design and synthesis of arthritis care research, and the role of patients in the design of clinical trials; describe collaborative international activities furthering team and nonpharmacological arthritis care research; and identify research activities that may influence future practice and the health of people with arthritis.