impact factor

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Improving rheumatoid arthritis management within the Spanish National Health System: a social return on investment study

1, 2, 3, 4


  1. Health Outcomes Research, Weber, Madrid, Spain.
  2. Pharmacoeconomics and Market Access, Weber, Madrid, Spain.
  3. Health Outcomes Research, Weber, Madrid, Spain.
  4. University of Castilla-La Mancha, Economic Analysis and Finance Department, Toledo, Spain.

2022 Vol.40, N°1
PI 0104, PF 0111
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PMID: 33635230 [PubMed]

Received: 10/09/2020
Accepted : 25/01/2021
In Press: 15/02/2021
Published: 28/01/2022


To define a set of proposals that would improve the current management of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) within the Spanish National Health System (SNHS), and to estimate the impact of their implementation from a social perspective.
A one-year forecast-type Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis was performed on the basis of information collected from a scientific literature review, official data, and multiple stakeholders regarding RA. A sub-analysis was performed within the areas of diagnosis, early RA (<2 years from diagnosis), and established RA (≥2 years from diagnosis).
Stakeholders agreed on a set of 22 proposals, which included incorporating specialised nursing, addressing adherence issues, providing psychological support, or promoting the role of patient associations, among others. Their implementation would require an investment of 289 million euros and yield a social return of 913 million euros, i.e. a social return of 3.16 euros per euro invested (2.92 euros in the worst-case scenario and 3.40 euros in the best-case scenario). The greatest social return relative to investment and the greatest attributed to intangible aspects were observed within the area of early RA.
Evidence-based recommendations for the management of RA are aspirational. Nevertheless, the present study estimated that the implementation of the set of proposals would result in a positive impact relative to the investment needed to implement them. The results may guide management decisions to reduce the burden associated with RA, and help bridge the gap between evidence-based recommendations and routine clinical practice.


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