Early diagnosis of rheumatic diseases: an evaluation of the present situation and proposed changes
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Online publication date: 2015-04-10
Reumatologia 2015;53(1):3–8
Musculoskeletal pain is a very common complaint, affecting 30–40% of the European population. It is estimated that approximately 400,000 Poles suffer from inflammatory rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, and a vast majority of those affected are working-age individuals. Patients with suspected arthritis require prompt diagnosis and treatment, as any delays may result in irreversible joint destruction and disability. Currently in Poland, the lag time between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis is, on average, as much as 35 weeks. In this paper, we review the current state of specialist rheumatology care in Poland and propose a reorganised care model that includes early diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis. The main goal we wish to achieve with our reorganised model is to enhance access to outpatient specialist rheumatology care for patients with suspected arthritis. We believe that our model should make it possible to considerably reduce the lag time between GP referral and the diagnosis and treatment by a rheumatologist to as little as 3 to 4 weeks. This article provides a proposal of changes that would achieve this goal and is a summary of the report published by the Institute of Rheumatology in September 2014.
Copyright: © Narodowy Instytut Geriatrii, Reumatologii i Rehabilitacji w Warszawie. This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.