Although the use of telemedicine has been debated for decades, it has taken on unparalleled relevance during the COVID-19 epidemic. The Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity Index (RADAI) is a self-administered measure for assessing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity. For a study, researchers sought to evaluate the performance of RADAI with other disease activity indices, functional status, and inflammatory markers in a large RA patient population.

They tested the concurrent validity of RADAI against the Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI), the Disease Activity Score in 28 Joints-C-reactive protein, the Simplified Disease Activity Index, and physician assessment of disease activity, as well as the correlation of RADAI with the Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index and inflammatory markers at the REAL Study baseline. They also looked at the relationship between changes in RADAI and changes in CDAI during 6 months.

In the initial assessment, 1,113 of the 1,115 patients in the REAL Study had RADAI scores. RADAI and other disease activity indicators had strong baseline correlations, ranging from 0.64 (compared with physician judgment) to 0.79. (comparison with CDAI). The correlation between the change in RADAI score and the change in CDAI score throughout the 6 months of follow-up was moderate/strong for the total group and within the stratified analyses.

The significant connection of RADAI with other well-established techniques for disease activity evaluation reassures its utility in the follow-up of RA patients, particularly in this new era of telemedicine.