By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist
Trying to improve disease awareness is hard work, potentially unrewarding and frustrating. So, any attempt at a public awareness campaign is approached with a degree of hope and trepidation.
It' a campaign designed to get young males (and yes, I know females are affected to) with chronic back pain to visit a website where they'll answer a few key questions to determine if they have Inflammatory Back Pain.
Having Inflammatory back pain may mean that the diagnosis is spondyloarthritis / ankylosing spondylitis so determining this is a key stepping stone to a correct diagnosis.
This campaign, supported by Abbvie (a pharmaceutical company), Arthritis & Osteoporosis NSW, a number of allied health professionals, rheumatologists and patient advocates has just entered its 3rd month.
I thought it worth sharing some milestones achieved:
- ~14,000 visits to the campaign website
- >3,300 positive screener results (approx. 38% of total screener submissions)
- ~300 positive screener recipients electing to receive further information
An important part of the campaign involved attempting to engage GPs:
- GP postcard mailer distributed to ~4,000 GPs in our state, New South Wales
- The Back Pain Maze poster placed in ~900 GP waiting rooms
- ~700 AS GP Fact sheets downloaded through an online portal
Traditional media & social media highlights include:
- Media articles in >19 publications (mainly local community papers)
- 113 Media clippings generated – including radio snippets, and national TV coverage (A Current Affair, estimated audience of 1 million viewers - watch "Michael Slater Reveals Secret Illness")
- >700 website visits from Facebook & Twitter
It's encouraging. A good start. We hope there'll be more interest and that we can keep the ball rolling.
Please help if you can. Share the links so we can get more people with chronic back pain screened, and hopefully, reduce the delay for some in getting the correct diagnosis.Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here. Arthritis requires an integrated approach. We call this, Connected Care. Contact us.