The healthcare community is looking for new ways to improve diagnosis and treatment of Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA), an inflammatory auto-immune disease (the result of an overactive immune system). Subjective symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, and tenderness can often lead to frustration and missed opportunities for better care. In fact, one study found that mis-alignment between patients and physicians on treatment satisfaction is associated with increased disease activity and worse impact on quality of life. It’s important for patients with PsA to treat their condition early, because if left untreated, it can lead to permanent and irreversible joint damage.
This challenge is looking for a simple and easy to adopt solution to help:
The solution should easily enable the physician to better understand the patient’s end-to-end experience, regardless of how much the patient recalls or measures their daily impact and how much time the physician has with them to evaluate the patient’s status.
Ultimately, the solution will improve measurement of irregular and variable physical and emotional symptoms so both PsA patients and healthcare providers can evaluate the degree of severity and impact on quality of life. This more accurate understanding of patients’ symptoms will ease the development of treatment plans that match the severity and bothersomeness of patients’ symptoms.
 Furst DE et al. Misalignment between physicians and patient satisfaction with psoriatic arthritis disease control. Clin Rheumatol. 2017;36(9):2045-2054.
Symptoms of PsA include joint pain and stiffness, skin and nail psoriasis, swollen toes and fingers (dactylitis), persistent pain and/or swelling where the tendons and ligaments attach to bones (enthesitis), and irreversible joint damage. These symptoms may prevent PsA patients from pursuing their desired careers, hobbies, and daily requirements.
Some people with PsA report feeling like they've lost themselves to their disease. They are physically and emotionally burdened by their disease and are frustrated because they aren't able to accomplish what they need and want to do in life. They don't want to complain to others about their pain, so they often times suffer in silence which can lead to social isolation, as well as less than optimal medical treatment. Since PsA is often "invisible" to others, some patients may not get much help from family or friends who don't understand the disease and its impact.
One of the factors that can make PsA challenging to treat is the difficulty healthcare practitioners have in objectively determining the true burden of the disease on their patients’ quality of life. We hope to address that difficulty via this challenge.
The challenge guidelines describe specific reasons why it can be hard today for healthcare practitioners to determine PsA’s impact on patients’ quality of life.
It may be helpful to review some of the existing questionnaires where patients can report their PsA symptoms in office visits. We welcome improvements on these methodologies that address the limitations described in the challenge guidelines – or “blue sky” ideas that create new approaches:
 Kavanaugh A et al. Psoriatic Arthritis and Burden of Disease: Patient Perspectives from the Population-Based Multinational Assessment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (MAPP) Survey. Rheumotol Ther. 2016; 3(1); 91-102.