• Expanding access to rheumatology care: the rheumatology general practice toolbox.

      Conway, R; Kavanagh, R; Coughlan, R J; Carey, J J (Irish Medical Journal, 2015-02)
      Management guidelines for many rheumatic diseases are published in specialty rheumatology literature but rarely in general medical journals. Musculoskeletal disorders comprise 14% of all consultations in primary care. Formal post-graduate training in rheumatology is limited or absent for many primary care practitioners. Primary care practitioners can be trained to effectively treat complex diseases and have expressed a preference for interactive educational courses. The Rheumatology General Practice (GP) Toolbox is an intensive one day course designed to offer up to date information to primary care practitioners on the latest diagnostic and treatment guidelines for seven common rheumatic diseases. The course structure involves a short lecture on each topic and workshops on arthrocentesis, joint injection and DXA interpretation. Participants evaluated their knowledge and educational experience before, during and after the course. Thirty-two primary care practitioners attended, who had a median of 13 (IQR 6.5, 20) years experience in their specialty. The median number of educational symposia attended in the previous 5 years was 10 (IQR-5, 22.5), with a median of 0 (IQR 0, 1) in rheumatology. All respondents agreed that the course format was appropriate. Numerical improvements were demonstrated in participant's confidence in diagnosing and managing all seven common rheumatologic conditions, with statistically significant improvements (p < 0.05) in 11 of the 14 aspects assessed. The Rheumatology Toolbox is an effective educational method for disseminating current knowledge in rheumatology to primary care physicians and improved participant's self-assessed competence in diagnosis and management of common rheumatic diseases.