The Association of Physicians Annual Meeting (APAM) is the leading UK meeting for interdisciplinary translation medicine. The Association invites scholarship around a shared vision of the value of interdisciplinary collaboration, reaching new audiences, seeking out and promoting new ways of working and encouraging translational research leading to the advancement of internal medicine and direct benefits for patients.

Prof Ursula Fearon speaking in Session 2: Engaging the Public and Patients in Science

Changing the RA NarRAtive

Pfizer launched a worldwide initiative in 2014 to better understand disease management in RA and to improve physician-patient relationships. The campaign, known as the RA NarRAtive, was conducted across 15 countries by means of online patient and physician surveys. The primary aim of the RA NarRAtive was to highlight the importance of the patient in the successful management of RA.

In Ireland, 176 patients, who attend a rheumatologist, completed the survey and the results revealed that a large proportion of patients worry about their quality of life as a result of RA. The survey found 64% of patients worry about the damage RA is causing their joints, while 65% worry about the possibility of becoming disabled. Of the patients who take prescription medications, 77% wish they could take less. In terms of disease management and future goals, 68% of patients aim to reduce fatigue, 63% would like to reduce pain and 56% would like to be able to carry out daily tasks more comfortably.

The report highlighted the importance of the relationship between the patient and their physician, with 78% of patients stating that they turn to healthcare professionals for information and advice on managing the disease.

Speaking at the launch of the research findings in Ireland, Prof Douglas Veale of CARD and Consultant Rheumatologist at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, said: “This research is incredibly insightful and a welcome development in identifying the needs of RA patients. As a physician, I am always keen to understand patient feedback, their concerns and requirements. The patient feedback indicates the need to determine an effective, collaborative relationship between patients and their RA physician to work together to better manage RA. It is vital that RA patients are presented with treatment options and there is a need for ongoing development into new, innovative treatments.”