Patients With Autoimmune Diseases Report Improved QOL With Digital Care Program

A digital care program was associated with improvements in health-related quality of life of patients with autoimmune diseases.

For patients with autoimmune diseases, including those with “long COVID,” a digital care program was found to have high engagement and adherence, and was associated with clinically meaningful improvements in health-related quality of life (HRQOL), according to study findings published in RMD Open.

The objective of the program was to promote personalized diet and lifestyle interventions, and it included 3 key components: an adaptive application using patient data to allow tracking their progress, a dashboard that displays data for patients and health coaches, and a remote coaching session in which patients and coaches review data and implement changes.

A retrospective study evaluated the feasibility and effect of the digital care program among patients with autoimmune diseases who participated in the program between 2020 and 2022.

Outcomes were evaluated using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS29) and the PROMIS short form Self-Efficacy for Managing Chronic Conditions-Managing Symptoms (MSx) instrument.

These findings should prompt further investigation into the utility of personalised trials to optimise the success of non-pharmacological interventions in alleviating symptoms and improving HRQoL in patients with AID.

A total of 202 patients were enrolled in the study, with a mean age of 46.2 (SD, 12.2) years; 77.0% were women; 71% were White; and 15% had “long COVID.”

The participants spent an average of 17 weeks in the program and tracked data on 86% of days. The participants logged data 7.6 times per day, for a total of 756 observations per patient. The mean number of completed coaching sessions was 14.

All outcomes changed significantly from baseline. Significant increases to physical function, ability to manage symptoms, cognitive function, and ability to participate in social activities scores (all P <.0001) and decreases to anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain interference, and pain intensity scores (all P <.0001) were observed.

Stratified by diagnoses, patients with RA reported significant changes to all outcomes; patients with other autoimmune diseases reported changes to 9 outcomes; patients with psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis reported changes to 8 outcomes; patients with systemic lupus erythematosus reported changes to 7 outcomes; and patients with inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and ankylosing spondylitis reported changes to 4 outcomes. In addition, the subset of patients with “long COVID” reported significant changes to all outcomes, except pain intensity.

Stratified by severity of outcomes at baseline, individuals who started with more severe symptoms reported greater changes in scores during the program.

The most prevalent symptom triggers included excessive or insufficient food intake of specific foods, ingredients, and beverages.

The study authors concluded, “These findings should prompt further investigation into the utility of [personalized] trials to [optimize] the success of non-pharmacological interventions in alleviating symptoms and improving [HRQOL] in patients with [autoimmune diseases].”

Disclosures: This research was supported by Mymee. Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

This article originally appeared on Rheumatology Advisor


Bundy N, De Jesus M, Lytle M, et al. Self-evidence-based digital care programme improves health-related quality of life in adults with a variety of autoimmune diseases and long COVID: a retrospective study. RMD Open. 2023;9(2):e003061. doi:10.1136/rmdopen-2023-003061