Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate an Internet-Based Self-Management Program in Systemic Sclerosis. Academic Article uri icon


  • In a pilot study, our group showed that an internet-based self-management program improves self-efficacy in systemic sclerosis (SSc). The objective of the current study was to compare an internet-based self-management program to a patient-focused educational book developed to assess measures of self-efficacy and other patient-reported outcomes in patients with SSc.We conducted a 16-week randomized, controlled trial.Of the 267 participants who completed baseline questionnaires and were randomized to the intervention (internet: www.selfmanagescleroderma.com) or control (book) group, 123 participants (93%) in the internet group and 124 participants (94%) in the control group completed the 16-week randomized controlled trial (RCT). The mean ± SD age of all participants was 53.7 ± 11.7 years, 91% were women, and 79.4% had some college or a higher degree. The mean ± SD disease duration after diagnosis of SSc was 8.97 ± 8.50 years. There were no statistical differences between the 2 groups for the primary outcome measure (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Self-Efficacy for Managing Symptoms: mean change of 0.35 in the internet group versus 0.94 in the control group; P = 0.47) and secondary outcome measures, except the EuroQol 5-domain instrument visual analog scale score (P = 0.05). Internet group participants agreed that the self-management modules were of importance to them, the information was presented clearly, and the website was easy to use and at an appropriate reading level.Our RCT showed that the internet-based self-management website was not statistically superior to an educational patient-focused book in improving self-efficacy and other measures. The participants were enthusiastic about the content and presentation of the self-management website.© 2018, American College of Rheumatology.

publication date

  • March 2019