Muscoloskeletal disorder, including rheumatoid arthritis, affect millions of people in Europe and cause severe long-term pain an disability. Consequently, costs to patient and society are tremendous. As the ageing population is still growing in Europe, efficient health care of musculoskeletal disorders becomes increasingly important. It is not without reason, that the first decade of the next millennium has been declared the 'Bone and Joint Decade' OMERACT stands for 'Outcome Measures in Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinical Trials'. OMERACT is a high level scientific conference of leading experts from various health care fields, e.g. rheumatology, epidemiology, public health, pharmacology and medical technology assessment interested in outcome measurement in rheumatology. All OMERACT initiatives strive to improve the quality of applied research in rheumatology, and ultimately the quality of care of rheumatic patients in general with the aim to reduce disability and costs. OMERACT meetings are organised around leading experts and have workshop format to facilitate intensive interaction between the experts.
As OMERACT is an iterative consensus process updated every two years, it leads to scientific improvements at the cutting edge of knowledge. Participation will be limited to a maximum of 100 individuals from various countries. Most leading experts in the field of rheumatology come from the USA and Canada, but also experts from many European countries (France, Italy, Germany, Norway, UK, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Finland, Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Czech Republic) participate in OMERACT. The last three OMERACT meetings were held in Canada, Australia, and Mexico, respectively. The first OMERACT meeting in the Netherland, in 1992, resulted in a enormous, stimulating impulse for rheumatology research in the Netherlands and Belgium. By organising OMERACT 5 i Toulouse, France, we hope to give a similar impulse to other