The publication of BSR members and NHS England's rheumatology digital playbook shows how rheumatology can adapt to new ways of working through greater use of technology, remote meeting and increased patient engagement.
The playbook supports technologies in being adopted and implemented more widely by sharing best practice case studies of digitally-enabled care. It's an extension of work done over the last three years, which saw many exciting advances in digital innovation across rheumatology practice, as well as increased collaboration across organisations
The playbook helps build on existing innovation successes within the rheumatology community, and gives teams an opportunity to review areas of the pathway where they know they face challenges, and to learn from teams that have already faced these through real-life examples, showing them how they can do things differently.
Dr Lesley Kay, consultant rheumatologist and co-national clinical lead for rheumatology, Getting It Right First Time programme, NHSE/I, says: "This is a great collection of case studies that reflect real world experience of digital rheumatology services. This will help the rheumatology community adopt the digital technologies using peer support and worked examples."
Remote consultations, patient-initiated follow-up and advice and guidance were already being tried and tested prior to the pandemic; it's already been demonstrated that there is space for all these initiatives in rheumatology. What matters now, and the next challenge in innovating for the future and supporting rheumatology teams, is how we embed this going forward, and how we involve patients in that discussion.
Dr Antoni Chan, consultant rheumatologist and associate medical director, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, says: “This is a fantastic resource - I hope that more departments will look to contribute their lived experiences of digital innovation.”
Rheumatology is a key component of the Best MSK Health collaborative programme, and there's great potential for key stakeholders from across primary care, orthopaedics, lived experience partners and the third sector to come together ‘around the same table’ to consider how to best meet the needs of those with MSK conditions through appropriate use of technology.
If you're attending Annual Conference in Glasgow, join the Telemedicine and Remote Monitoring Special Interest Group session on 26 April 07:45-08:45 for more information about the playbook.