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Project #112:
The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on rheumatoid arthritis care and non-COVID outcomes

  • Type: Research
  • Topic areas: Other/indirect impacts of COVID on health/healthcare

Rheumatology services were directly affected during the pandemic, as rheumatologists were frequently seconded to treat COVID-19 patients, rheumatology appointments were moved to remote appointments and drug monitoring was reduced. The impacts of these changes has not been measured. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are treated with immunosuppressive medications that require blood monitoring for toxicity and patients are monitored by a rheumatologist to manage the disease activity, thereby preventing further complications. This study will identify a rheumatoid arthritis population between 1st March 2018 to 30th April 2022 from the OpenSAFELY platform and will measure blood monitoring and associated outcomes, 2) rheumatology outpatient appointments, 3) hospital admissions and 4) deaths. The impact of the pandemic will be measured by comparing the pre-pandemic period to the pandemic period.


  • Study leads: Ruth Costello
  • Organisation: University of Oxford and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine