By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist
On Sunday, I gave a short presentation at the Australian Rheumatology Association's NSW Branch meeting.
I spoke about our clinic and BJC Health's 8 year journey in trying to establish an Integrated Rheumatology service. We've had a bumpy journey, learning and improving after mistakes and misadventures, but we've now grown to have over 30 staff and contractors over 3 locations.
We now run a rheumatology service unique in the state of NSW, and as far as I know, in Australia. We have a larger team than any rheumatology department in any teaching hospital in NSW.
I believe every rheumatologist in that room would have agreed with the goal of Integrated Rheumatology care. The problem is that it's very hard to deliver! Some deterrents include:
- it's expensive to set up
- it's hard to make financially viable
- it's hard to find like-minded people to work together
- it's hard to create the right team
- it requires a lot of effort and time to run & improve
It's definitely been hard work but we strongly believe that for patients with chronic rheumatic disease, optimum care can only be delivered by a coordinated, multi-disciplinary service. No one allied health professional or doctor can reasonably meet all the needs of the patient. It makes sense to team up health professionals in the same location for added convenience. This then translates to improved patient compliance and improved communication between the team members.
At BJC Health, we call this approach, Connected Care. Connected Care for better patient outcomes.
On one of my slides, I raised the question "Why Bother?"
The final word on this will go to RA Guy:
" When you live with a chronic illness like rheumatoid arthritis, going to all of your different health care appointments can easily feel like a full time job. And to make the situation even more complicated, everything is usually in a different place. You have to go one place to see your rheumatologist, another place to get physical therapy, another place to exercise, another place to get your lab work done, another place to see your psychologist, and so on, and so on.
As I commute from one place to another day after day, I often start to daydream. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all of these services in one place? "
Do you agree?
Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health.
BJC Health provides a connected care multidisciplinary team philosophy to deliver positive lifestyle outcomes through a holistic approach to those with degenerative & inflammatory arthritis, tendon injury and lifestyle diseases. Our clinics are located in Parramatta, Chatswood and Brookvale. Contact us.
This blog focuses on arthritis-related diseases, healthcare in general, and our Connected Care philosophy.