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Jeffrey Curtis, MD, MS, MPH: The Future of Rheumatological Care

Care of rheumatic patients must factor in cradiovascular risk and conditions.

In our previous segment, Jeffrey Curtis, MD, MS, MPH, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, discussed how rheumatologists must be more attuned to patient risk for cardiovascular (CV) diseases.

CV risk can increase as a result of the rheumatic condition or certain therapies that may have an adverse effect on lipid profiles.

In this final part of our interview, Curtis elaborated a bit further on this shortcoming in rheumatological care and a potential direction for the specialty.

“Although rheumatologists are certain specialists, I think many of us feel rather compelled to get back a bit more to our internal medicine roots,” he said.

This would mean engaging more in CV risk management, such as prescribing appropriate therapies and more actively monitoring aspects of CV health.

Curtis attributed this limitation in care to knowledge and willingness gaps. He believed this assuming of greater responsibility would meet a pushback in the field. After all, rheumatologists are already spread thin with time pressures for treatment.

“It doesn’t have to be that rheumatologists are always the prescribers,” said Curtis. “I think in many offices it’s just not realistic. But we can think through how we can better comanage and how we can communicate more effectively.”

He concluded with a hope that rheumatologists can take on greater responsibility and opportunities to optimize patient outcomes.