Can an app improve mental and physical health support for people with arthritis?

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis

Lead applicant - Dr Sam Norton

Organisation - King's College London

Type of grant - Foundation Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £125,000

Start date - 1 April 2017

Reference - 21622

Public Summary

This project is jointly funded with mental health charity, MQ. Versus Arthritis is contributing £125,000 and MQ is contributing £100,000.

What are the aims of this research?

The aim of this research is to develop a new app aiming to explore mental and physical health support for people with arthritis.

Why is this research important?

In the UK over 400,000 people live with rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that causes joint inflammation, pain, stiffness and fatigue. Around a third of these people also experience a mental health condition. Current drug treatments for rheumatoid arthritis can be helpful, but around 40% of people still experience ongoing pain, fatigue and mental health problems even when their inflammation has been reduced. A personalised treatment approach that accurately targets both physical and mental health symptoms could be transformative.

As well as looking at the literature and previous data to understand how the number of people with rheumatoid arthritis and mental health problems has changed over time, this project will involve the creation an app to help healthcare professionals track symptoms and identify people with rheumatoid arthritis at risk of ongoing problems, including mental health issues. It aims to help healthcare professionals and people with rheumatoid arthritis select the most effective treatments and make the most of the time available in appointments.

How will the findings benefit patients?

The digital tool created as part of this project can help to make mental health an important priority within arthritis care. This integration has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people who live with arthritis and other long-term conditions.