Using patient-reported data from a smartphone app to capture and characterize real-time patient-reported flares in rheumatoid arthritis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We aimed to explore the frequency of self-reported flares and their association with preceding symptoms collected through a smartphone app by people with RA. Methods: We used data from the Remote Monitoring of RA study, in which patients tracked their daily symptoms and weekly flares on an app. We summarized the number of self-reported flare weeks. For each week preceding a flare question, we calculated three summary features for daily symptoms: mean, variability and slope. Mixed effects logistic regression models quantified associations between flare weeks and symptom summary features. Pain was used as an example symptom for multivariate modelling. Results: Twenty patients tracked their symptoms for a median of 81 days (interquartile range 80, 82). Fifteen of 20 participants reported at least one flare week, adding up to 54 flare weeks out of 198 participant weeks in total. Univariate mixed effects models showed that higher mean and steeper upward slopes in symptom scores in the week preceding the flare increased the likelihood of flare occurrence, but the association with variability was less strong. Multivariate modelling showed that for pain, mean scores and variability were associated with higher odds of flare, with odds ratios 1.83 (95% CI, 1.15, 2.97) and 3.12 (95% CI, 1.07, 9.13), respectively. Conclusion: Our study suggests that patient-reported flares are common and are associated with higher daily RA symptom scores in the preceding week. Enabling patients to collect daily symptom data on their smartphones might, ultimately, facilitate prediction and more timely management of imminent flares.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article numberrkac021
JournalRheumatology Advances in Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2022