Quality of Life Projects

Quality of LifeAssessing health-related quality of life in early OA: Development and application of a web-based computerized adaptive measurement system

Tooling up for early osteoarthritis:  Measuring what matters – participation

Grouping Patients with Mild to Severe OA for Research Studies based on Physical Function

Early Osteoarthritis (OA) and its impact on quality of life

Tooling Up for Early Osteoarthritis: evaluating pain and OA management strategies (POAMS)


Early Osteoarthritis (OA) and impact on quality of life


We know that people with OA have good days and bad days. They even have good and bad times that last longer. What happens to make OA better or worse over time? That is what we want to understand in this study. We want to identify the things that influence changes in health-related quality of life over time.

Additional project objectives include: further development of a questionnaire to measure quality of life, analysis of data we have already collected, testing a new model of health-related quality of life, and testing a new questionnaire (developed by other researchers) to measure how OA affects participation in work, family life, recreation, and other activities.

Introduction and Background
The study builds on our previous work. We are using a sophisticated web-based computerized questionnaire that asks about aspects of health-related quality of life often affected by OA, such as daily activities, mobility, pain or emotional health. The questionnaire is adaptive (interactive). That is, the computer chooses questions based on a person’s previous answers. For example, if a question asks if you have difficulty walking 1 block and you answer “yes”, the computer does not ask if you can run a marathon (for others, a question about running a marathon may be appropriate). Over 4000 people completed the original survey. In the current, second phase of this project, we are trying to determine which external and person-specific factors (e.g., weather, work and other activities, treatments, and so on) affect long and short-term changes in arthritis symptoms and function.


Participant Recruitment

Drawing from the first phase of this study, we have gathered a large group of people living with knee OA and who have agreed to be in other studies. We will select a random sample from this group and ask them to participate in this study.



We will begin by reviewing scientific literature to identify factors that have been shown to influence OA over time and those that predict its ebbs and flows. Once we have collected this information, we will develop a set of questions that can capture the predictive behaviour of OA and administer these questions through our web-based adaptive questionnaire.

We will select three groups of 200 people each from people who have agreed to participate in additional studies and have OA (and a sample without OA). People from each sample will complete an initial questionnaire assessing their health-related quality of life. The people from Group 1 will complete a questionnaire daily for one week, those in Group 2 will complete a questionnaire weekly for 6 weeks, and those in Group 3 will do the survey every 4 weeks for 6 months.


Time Frame and Results

Invitations to complete the questionnaires will be sent out in 2007 and results will be available by February 2008.


Relevance to people living with arthritis

We know many things that have an affect on OA, but what research does not know in detail are the things that can predict the course of the disease, its patterns and the changes in symptoms and functional limitations for a person. This knowledge will be useful for people in managing their disease and for health care practitioners in providing appropriate treatments.

Consumer Involvement

Consumers (people with arthritis with experience in participating in research) will be involved in judging the relevance of new questions to be added to the survey, and to ensure that the researchers have not overlooked any important elements of the disease as it relates to health-related quality of life.


Funding Agency

This study is funded by the OA NET grant, which is funded by the CIHR and the Canadian Arthritis Network.



The results of this study will be presented at national or international arthritis research meetings and will be published in medical journals.

Web links



Project Team Members and Contact Person

Principal Investigator:
Jacek A. Kopec MD, PhD, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada
Other Investigators:
Jolanda Cibere MD , PhD, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada
Nelson Greidanus MD, MPH, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada
Carlo A. Marra PharmD, PhD, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada
Aslam H. Anis PhD, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada
John M. Esdaile MD, MPH, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada

Key Words

osteoarthritis, health-related quality of life

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