The 1st day of a rheumatology conference is always exciting.
The Australian Rheumatology Association is small and cosy, and our 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting, held in Brisbane in combination with the Rheumatology Health Professionals Association, is friendly and manageable.
The opening session was inspirational. Professor Iain McInnes from Glasgow, has a wonderful knack to made complicated scientific processes understandable to the common rheumatologist, with humour, his accent, & his enthusiasm. His brief was to talk about science leading to new therapeutics in rheumatoid arthritis over the next decade. Inspiring. Dendritic cells talking to T-cells. Watch this space.
He was followed by Professor Ranjeny Thomas, from the Diamantina Institute in Queensland. She presented novel and exciting technology to try and induce a more tolerant immune state in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. I still need to get my head around it but the simplest, although not quite correct way to explain this more simply, is that it represents a type of “vaccine” therapy.
I attended a lecture by futurist, Tim Longhurst. He spoke about digital trends in how patients access health information and the need for rheumatologists & health professionals to at least be aware of these, and to hopefully engage the processes of internet search, social media & mobile phone technology. Given I write a blog, I’m already one of the converted.
Spondyloarthropathy featured prominently. We were updated on psoriatic arthritis. I learned about a simple questionnaire called the ToPAS. This helps screen patients with psoriasis to see if they have psoriatic arthritis. Given this is so commonly missed by general practitioners, the patients themselves & the very time-poor dermatologists, it struck me that we could use this to try and encourage our local Sydney dermatologists to help identify patients BJC Health would like to help.
Professor Matt Brown, who spoke at the AS You See It Seminar last week, told us about his research and about the Princess Alexandria Hospital Spondyloarthritis Clinic in Brisbane. He made the point that this was a world class facility in the diagnosis and treatment of ankylosing spondylitis patients. BJC Health is on the path of reproducing this model of care at our clinics in Parramatta, Chatswood & Brookvale in Sydney. We plan to collaborate with the Australian Spondyloarthritis experts to develop our systems to promote the comprehensive, multidisciplinary care that the sufferers of this disease deserve.
BJC Health is well represented at this conference. Errol Lim & Rachael Butterworth are involved in SPAN, a physiotherapy advisory group for spondyloarthritis. In between sessions, Rachael even flew back to Sydney to compete in the half marathon as part of her quest to run a full marathon this year. Kathryn Bloomfield flew in from Perth last night after attending the dermatology conference. She now puts on her rheumatology nurse hat. Herman Lau has been involved with council activities in his role as chairperson for the association’s Electronics Committee.
One of the nicest things about our annual scientific meeting is the catch-up time. The break between sessions allows us to say g’day to coleagues, meet new & interesting folk, identify potential new collaborators & foster ongoing friendships.
All this activity, in the spirit of improving awareness and knowledge, will translate to better patient care.
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.