Objective: To identify and prioritize patient- and rheumatologist-perceived barriers to achieving disease control. Methods: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and rheumatologists from the Corrona registry were invited by e-mail to participate in nominal groups. Two separate lists of barriers were created, 1 from RA patient–only nominal groups and the other from rheumatologist-only nominal groups, and barriers were sorted into themes. Next, using an online survey, a random sample of RA patients from the Corrona registry were asked to rank their top 3 barriers to achieving disease control. Results: Four nominal groups totaling 37 RA patients identified patient barriers to achieving control of RA activity that were classified into 17 themes. Three nominal groups totaling 25 rheumatologists identified barriers that were classified into 11 themes. The financial aspects of RA care ranked first for both types of nominal groups, while medication risk aversion ranked second among the perceived barriers of the physician nominal group and third among those of the RA patient nominal group. Among the 450 RA patients surveyed, 77% considered RA a top health priority, and 51% reported being aware of the treat-to-target strategy for RA care; the 3 most important patient-perceived challenges to achieving disease control were RA prognosis uncertainty, medication risk aversion, and the financial/administrative burden associated with RA care. Conclusion: There are common, potentially modifiable, patient- and rheumatologist-reported barriers to achieving RA disease control, including perceived medication risk aversion, suboptimal treatment adherence, and suboptimal patient–physician communication regarding the benefits of tight control of disease activity in RA. Addressing these obstacles may improve adherence to goal-directed RA care.
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