Benjamin Smith, DMSc, PA-C: Integrative RA Treatment Guidelines


Benjamin Smith, DMSc, PA-C, discusses integrative rheumatoid arthritis treatment guidelines.

In an interview with HCPLive, Benjamin Smith, DMSc, PA-C, program director and associate dean of the School of Physician Assistant Practice at Florida State University College of Medicine, provides the key highlights from his American College of Rheumatology State-of-the-Art (ACR-SOTA) presentation discusses the integrative rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment guidelines. Smith delves into the important role this approach in managing RA provides and emphasizes the importance of the collaborative efforts of providers to optimize patient outcomes.

An integrative approach encompasses various aspects including exercise, rehabilitation, diet, and complementary treatments. These elements were organized based on a thorough consideration of literature and application for patients with diverse experiences of RA. This structured strategy, Smith says, aims to address the multifaceted nature of RA and enhance treatment effectiveness.

Collaboration among providers is fundamental in implementing the approach effectively. Smith underscores the importance of rheumatologists, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, psychologists, and other professionals working together. Each member of the team brings unique expertise that contributes to comprehensive care and optimal patient outcomes.

The guideline development process involved patient input, emphasizing the significance of early education and expert guidance on integrative treatment options. This patient-centered approach reflects the evolving landscape of healthcare, where patient preferences and needs are integral to treatment decisions.

Furthermore, Smith explains the need for a holistic view of RA treatment, combining pharmacologic interventions with integrative therapies. Guiding principles were established to parallel integrative RA treatments with pharmacologic approaches. This integrated approach recognizes that these treatments complement each other.

The heterogeneity of RA experiences necessitates personalized treatment plans based on disease stage, activity level, and patient preferences. The goal is to tailor treatment strategies to individual needs, considering factors such as early disease onset, disease progression, and symptom management.

While the integrative approach shows promise in enhancing RA management, further research and ongoing evaluation are essential. Smith acknowledges much of the evidence for integrative treatments is of low certainty, indicating the need for continued investigation and refinement of treatment guidelines.

Ultimately, the integrative approach to managing RA represents a collaborative effort among healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive and personalized care. By incorporating both non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic interventions, patients can experience improved outcomes and better quality of life.

Smith has no relevant disclosures to report.

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