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As the official podcast of the American College of Rheumatology, ACR on Air dives into topics such as the latest research on rheumatic disease, solutions for addressing practice management issues, legislative policies impacting patient care, and more. Tune in each month for engaging interviews and commentary with leading rheumatology professionals that is sure to empower listeners to excel in their specialty.
Jonathan Hausmann, MD, is a pediatric and adult rheumatologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research interests include autoinflammatory diseases, health technology, and medical education. Connect with Dr. Hausmann on Twitter (@hausmannMD).
A new episode will be available each month on the third Tuesday of the month. Browse previous episodes in the ACR on Air archive.
Welcome to ACR on Air, the official podcast of the American College of Rheumatology, where Dr. Jonathan Hausmann hosts engaging conversations with leading rheumatology professionals. Find out more on rheumatic diseases, management issues, and the policies impacting patient care. In today’s episode we invite guest Dr. Chenchen Wang to discuss complementary therapies to treat rheumatic diseases. Don’t miss this conversation as we dissect treatments such as acupuncture, Tai Chi and mindfulness, the evidence behind them in treating patients with rheumatic conditions and practical advice regarding how to get started with many of these practices. These treatments should be used in conjunction with, not instead of, more traditional treatments as recommended by your rheumatologist or healthcare professional.Dr. Hausmann begins the discussion by asking Dr. Wang how she initially became interested in her field of work. Listen as Dr. Wang shares her story of involvement and evolution within rheumatology, beginning over 25 years ago.Then, Dr. Hausmann asks for Dr. Wang’s clarification on terms such as alternative, complementary, and integrative medicine. Dr. Wang explains how, in recent years, terminology of alternative medicine has advanced into being integrative alongside conventional medicine. Integrative medicine refers to bringing conventional and alternative medicines together.Now that the concept of integrative health has been established, Dr. Hausmann and Dr. Wang jump into discussing specific treatments. Dr. Wang sheds light on two positive updates regarding insurance coverage for integrative medicine in 2020. She then breaks down the process of acupuncture, as well as its science and history, citing a recently published review paper she worked on, regarding acupuncture as treatment for chronic pain. Learn as they answer many of their most commonly received questions. How can patients find an effective acupuncturist and is it safe for everyone? How effective is Tai Chi for patients with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions?How can integrative health affect patients' wellbeing beyond pain treatment? Dr. Wang reveals her observations of enhanced self confidence in patients who practice Tai Chi, in both body and mind. She gives very practical advice for those interested in the practice, including how to get started. Additionally, you will learn about the positive effects mindfulness and good eating habits may have on chronic pain relief. Finally, Dr. Wang states how patients can approach the techniques discussed today and incorporate them into their existing care standards.
Speaker Chenchen Wang, MD, MSc - Chenchen Wang, MD, MSc, is a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and director of the Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She holds leadership and mentoring roles in the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute research environment, collaborating actively with multidisciplinary teams globally in complementary and integrative health disciplines. Dr. Wang completed her rheumatology and clinical epidemiology training at McGill University in 1999.Her research focuses on clinical and epidemiological studies of complementary and integrative medicine and their applications to treatments in chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions, especially osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
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In today’s episode, guests Dr. Aruni Jayatilleke and Dr. Christine Peoples are invited to talk about telemedicine. You do not want to miss this conversation on the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of telemedicine, along with how to have a successful appointment, what financial coverage is available, and what the future looks like.
Dr. Hausmann jumps into the conversation asking his guests about the sudden uptick in telemedicine over the past year and the relaxed standards that have occurred. A key question discussed is if the infrastructure was present before the pandemic, what were the barriers from doing more telemedicine visits prior to COVID-19? Dr. Peoples shares that she has worked in this space for the past seven years, but the pandemic certainly thrust telemedicine into the spotlight.
They go on to discuss the details of CMS coverage and the quick shift in medical facilities and hospitals to assist patients who were in their own homes. They also talk about the challenges and benefits for some rural areas to reach those patients who are unable to get to doctor visits.
The conversation continues with a discussion of other benefits like patients thinking more about their symptoms on a day-to-day basis, the relaxed conversational feel of telehealth visits, and the education providers can share with patients. While the format, style, and feel of these visits are more conversational, it also means providers are relying heavily on the patients’ responses and must guide patient expectations while working through the issues via phone call. This has also fundamentally changed rheumatology training. The conversation goes into how have providers dealt with the inability to physically touch patients, the importance of the physical exam to diagnose, and ways they have found to enhance the information received within the current limitations.
Other questions and concerns addressed include:
This conversation comes to a close as the host and guests discuss healthcare disparities and the future of telemedicine. Will telemedicine bridge the gap, or will it make the healthcare disparities even greater? Listen to the variables that can affect or support patient access in between office visits—smartphones, Wi-Fi access, email access, etc. They talk about getting patients access to the technology they need. Lastly, the host and guests talk about the possibilities for collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach for future visits.
Speaker Aruni Jayatilleke, MD - Dr. Aruni Jayatilleke is the program director for the rheumatology fellowship at Temple University. She has been involved in the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance’s initiatives in response to the pandemic. Her research interests include digital technology in rheumatology and in medical education. She also has clinical interests in reproductive health in rheumatology as well as in SAPHO syndrome.
Speaker Christine Peoples, MD - Dr. Christine Peoples is currently a clinical assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Peoples earned a bachelor’s in biology from Allegheny College and went on to receive her medical degree from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and her fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology. She is a champion of telehealth and recognizes the opportunity to expand much-needed clinical care to rheumatology patients regardless of geographic location.
The conversation begins with Dr. Curtis’ explanation that rheumatology patients are at higher risk for infections, many of which are preventable by our current vaccines. Preventing COVID in patients with rheumatic diseases is a priority because they may experience infections at a higher rate than others and may have worse outcomes when infected.
Some patients are concerned that vaccinations may cause a flare of their autoimmune disease. Dr. Curtis says there is some data surrounding this, but it is not clear and mostly anecdotal. Another concern immunosuppressed patients have expressed is being infected with the disease they’re trying to prevent when getting vaccinated. Since the COVID vaccine is not a live virus, this is not a possibility. Dr. Hausmann also asks if the vaccine is as effective in patients taking immunosuppressant medications. Dr. Curtis noted that the data is not there for a definitive answer yet, but he is optimistic based on the early signs of effectiveness of the COVID vaccines.
The ACR created a guidance task force to focus on the COVID vaccination. The process for this guidance is an abbreviated version of the College’s normal guidelines process which is usually months and/or years long. The urgency of the global pandemic warranted a shorter timeline. The guidance was created in eight weeks. The group was composed of 13 physicians and clinicians with expertise in rheumatology, infectious disease and public health. They determined that patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease, as well as those with autoimmune inflammatory disease, taking immunomodulators should get vaccinated against COVID-19. In general, the panel agreed this was true even if someone was having a disease flare.
Dr. Curtis explains, if at all possible, patients should not delay receiving the vaccine. Research is being conducted on the long-term effects of the vaccine. The ACR’s guidance is a living document and will include regular updates with the best guidance available for providers and patients.As the episode ends, Dr. Curtis shares the most interesting things he discovered through this process.
Speaker Jeffery Curtis, MD, MPH - Jeffery Curtis, MD, MPH, is a professor of medicine in the division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Curtis received a Medical Degree (MD) and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, OR. He subsequently completed a residency in internal medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and a fellowship in rheumatology at UAB.He completed a graduate program in Clinical Informatics at Stanford University and received his Master of Science (MS) degree in epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is board certified in both rheumatology and clinical informatics.
This month’s show focuses on advocacy in the rheumatology space. Our host chats with Lennie Shewmaker McDaniel, director of congressional affairs for the ACR, and Amanda Grimm Wiegrefe, the ACR’s director of regulatory affairs about advocacy wins and losses for 2020, the upcoming priorities for 2021, and how listeners can get involved.
Speaker Amanda Grimm Wiegrefe - Amanda Grimm Wiegrefe is the director of regulatory affairs for the American College of Rheumatology. In this staff role, she is responsible for all activities and policies within the Executive Branch, including CMS, FDA, CDC, and NIH. Amanda has over 10 years of experience working with a number of specialty societies, including dermatology, psychiatry, and cardiothoracic surgery. She has a Master of Science, Health Sciences in Regulatory Affairs from the George Washington University.
Speaker Lennie Shewmaker McDaniel - Lennie Shewmaker McDaniel, JD, is the director of congressional affairs for the American College of Rheumatology. Her 14 years of public policy experience includes roles as legislative staff managing healthcare for a Member of the House majority leadership, representing a portfolio of healthcare organization clients for a private government relations firm, managing a PAC representing over 60 Members of Congress, and serving on the finance and policy teams of multiple political campaigns. Lennie holds a degree in political science and writing from Birmingham-Southern College and a Jurist Doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law.
This month our host chats with Dr. Liz Ferucci about a study that focuses on telehealth use for rheumatoid arthritis follow ups. Dr. Suleman Bhana also joins as a special guest. The study was published in the American College of Rheumatology’s journal, Arthritis & Rheumatology.
Speaker Elizabeth Ferucci, MD, MPH's, Elizabeth Ferucci, MD, MPH’s, primary appointment is at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage, Alaska. She is also an affiliate associate professor in the division of rheumatology, department of medicine at the University of Washington. She earned a medical degree from New York University School of Medicine and a master’s degree in public health from John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Ferucci's primary research interest is the epidemiology of autoimmune diseases in Alaska Native and American Indian people, especially rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, which are present at high rates in Alaska Native people. She also focuses on improving health outcomes in these populations.
Speaker Suleman Bhana, MD - Suleman Bhana, MD, chair of the ACR Communications and Marketing Committee, is a rheumatologist at Crystal Run Healthcare in Middletown, New York.
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