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International Journal of Rheumatology
Volume 2014, Article ID 285951, 9 pages
Research Article

Contact Frequency, Travel Time, and Travel Costs for Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

1Centre for Applied Health Services Research, University of Southern Denmark, J.B. Winsløws Vej 9B, 5000 Odense, Denmark
2Center for Rheumatology and Spine Diseases, Glostrup Hospital, Denmark
3Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Received 10 September 2013; Revised 23 December 2013; Accepted 24 December 2013; Published 17 February 2014

Academic Editor: Ronald F. van Vollenhoven

Copyright © 2014 Jan Sørensen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To investigate travel time, and travel cost related to contacts with health care providers for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) during a three-month period. Methods. Patient-reported travel time and travel cost were obtained from 2847 patients with RA. Eleven outpatient clinics across Denmark recruited patients to the study. Data collected included frequency, travel time and travel costs for contacts at rheumatology outpatient clinics, other outpatient clinics, general practitioners, privately practicing medical specialists, inpatient hospitals and accident and emergency departments. Results. Over a 3-month period, patients with RA had on average 4.4 (sd 5.7) contacts with health care providers, of which 2.8 (sd 4.0) contacts were with rheumatology outpatient clinics. Private car and public travel were the most frequent modes of travel. The average patient spent 63 minutes and 13 € on travelling per contact, corresponding to a total of 4.6 hours and 56 € during the 3-month period. There was great variation in patient travel time and costs, but no statistically significant associations were found with clinical and sociodemographic characteristics. Conclusion. The results show that patients with RA spend private time and costs on travelling when they seek treatment. These findings are particularly important when analyzing social costs associated with RA.