SMILE (Self-Management Individualised Learning Environment) is a unique and engaging e-learning experience for people with RA who want to learn more about RA, its treatments and how to become good at self-managing.

As a result of amazing advances in the understanding of the causes of RA over the last few decades, we now have a greater variety of effective therapies than ever before and, consequently, the outlook for people living with RA is better than ever. However, adjusting to life with RA, learning to get the best out of treatment and navigating the healthcare system (which is invariably overstretched!), can be extremely daunting! It is therefore wonderful that NRAS have created this SMILE-RA resource which will be a boon to patients, their friends, family, and health professionals. It is a resource to take the user by the hand and guides them on the journey to wellbeing.

Peter C. Taylor, Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford.

SMILE has a modular approach to learning, so each module is on a particular theme or subject and takes between 20 mins and half an hour to complete. There is a Netflix style interface which makes it easy to use and navigate your way round. After registering and completing the Foundation module which includes baseline evaluation questions, you can then direct your own learning experience and choose whichever modules are of interest to explore next.  The data we are collecting through the programme is extremely important to us and will help us to understand the impact the programme is having on those participating over time.

How will the data from SMILE-RA be used?

The safety of your data is and always has been our priority, and all NRAS data collection is fully GDPR compliant and will only ever be used in an anonymised and aggregated form to report back to our funders, the users themselves and the rheumatology community.  Our CEO, Clare Jacklin, explains this in a short video when you register to do SMILE. Each module has learning objectives at the start and a few questions at the end to gauge how well these are being met for participants and this will help us to ensure that users are getting the best learning experience. The modules are interactive, contain short quizzes and lots of video and voice-over contributions from rheumatology health professionals, NRAS staff and people with RA. We’ve put a lot of effort into ensuring that the programme is attractive and engaging to work with and the content has been written with input at every stage from our E-Learning Advisory Board and the professionals and individuals with RA who have contributed to each module.

Can Health Professionals Refer their Patients to SMILE

We believe that SMILE is a very valuable resource because supported self-management is critically important to everyone with RA (or any other long-term condition) if they want to live their best life with RA, have the best long-term outcomes and also feel in control of their disease rather than it controlling their lives. It’s also important for health professionals as it is an evidence-based resource that they can be confident in referring their patients to. Health Professionals can refer their patients to SMILE via our online ‘Refer a Patient’ facility on the home page.

Current modules available

  • Foundation
  • Newly diagnosed
  • Meet the team
  • Managing pain and flares
  • A module on Medicines and Treatment will be launched later in the autumn

How to get started with SMILE-RA

When you register to participate in SMILE-RA, (see below) the system will direct you through some simple initial actions which we need you to complete before you are then free to explore whichever modules you are interested in. To register simply click on the button below. When registering for the first time the programme guides you into the Foundation module first. However long you’ve had RA for or however experienced you are at good self-management we ask you to complete the Foundation module. This is because we have some short baseline evaluation questions about how your disease is affecting you – the RA Impact of Disease questionnaire – embedded within this module and we really need you to fill this in (it won’t take long, promise!). At some time in the future we will ask you to fill these questions in again (without having to work through the Foundation module) so we can see whether the programme is effective in achieving its aims.

Once you have registered and completed the Foundation module and baseline questionnaire, feel free to explore SMILE as you like. Once in a module you can go back and repeat a section if you wish by using the menu bar at the bottom of the screen or watch a complete module again with a family member for example. You will be prompted to fill in some additional demographic information on your profile which is important to us and we’d be grateful if you could please fill in the details when asked. This will help us to sign-post you to resources and services which are likely to be of interest.

This content is not currently optimised for use on mobile platforms, please access it via a computer or laptop. This is due to significant amounts of changes from 3rd party suppliers which our developer is working hard to accommodate. We hope to be able to optimise SMILE-RA for use on mobile and iPad platforms in the coming weeks.

More modules will be added as they are developed going forward and we anticipate that in time, we will have the most comprehensive resource spanning all aspects of living with RA. We will advise everyone when a new module is added to the programme.

Are you now ready to SMILE?

If you’ve already registered and need to log back in to SMILE, click the button below.

To future-proof the modules available at launch, we signpost within some of the modules to modules not yet constructed. Please be aware of this but also be reassured that modules referred to yet currently unavailable, will be coming in the future, eg: Managing Fatigue, Work, Sleep disturbance etc. and information on these topics can be obtained in other ways/formats from NRAS through our many publications and extensive information on the website.