The purpose of this study was to assess referral and treatment delays in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated at an academic rheumatology centre based on ethnicity/race. To identify newly diagnosed and treatment-naive RA patients, researchers analysed the medical records of all RA patients assessed at an outpatient clinic between 2011 and 2016. We calculated the time between the beginning of symptoms and the first rheumatology appointment, as well as the time to begin therapy. The referral source, demographics, therapy, and laboratory tests were all extracted as data. They were able to determine baseline RAPID3 scores by using a comprehensive health assessment questionnaire on a regular basis. Comparisons were made between self-reported ethnicity/race groupings. To investigate the relationships between baseline characteristics and early referral, we utilised logistic regression models. The study contained data from 152 disease-modifying antirheumatic drug-naive RA patients; 35% were white, 37% were black, 20% were Hispanic, and 8% were other. Except for Hispanic patients, the median duration to first rheumatology visit ranged from 6 to 8 months. This group’s median time was 22.7 months. The referral pattern varied significantly between groups; 40% of Hispanic patients self-referred. There were no statistically significant variations in time to treatment beginning based on ethnicity/race. A high C-reactive protein level at baseline was linked to an earlier referral.
There is a substantial delay in presenting to a rheumatologist, which has been linked to a greater disease severity at presentation, particularly in Hispanic patients.