V Michael Holers, MD, president of the Rheumatology Research Foundation, discusses the creation of Rheumatology Lab in response to a pressing need within the clinical practice community to effectively bridge the gap between research and its impact on patients.
“There's a wealth of existing information available for patients about their rheumatic diseases with a focus on clinical treatment, but a gap existed regarding the research our foundation supports and its contributions to current therapies, ongoing research, and future directions,” Holers explained. “The goal of this initiative is to provide an easily accessible resource for physicians and the broader interprofessional healthcare team to guide patients and their families to valuable information.”
Holers and his team also aim to make the platform user-friendly, ensuring individuals can effortlessly find the information they seek. The project is an evolving effort with built-in feedback mechanisms to adapt to the community's changing interests and needs, with an emphasis on showcasing the extensive research our foundation supports.
This initiative aligns with the Rheumatology Research Foundation’s mission to enhance patient care and advance research. Future steps involve gathering both quantitative and qualitative feedback from physicians, healthcare teams, patients, and patient families, as well as their research community, to ensure they accurately represent their work and its impact.
Ultimately, Holers wants to highlight the individuals the Rheumatology Research Foundation supports and provide them with a platform to directly connect with patients and families, transcending institutional boundaries to create a national and international resource.
“I want to emphasize that this initiative was primarily driven by our patient and patient family representatives, who recognized the need for this type of information,” Holers explained. “We've always strived to be responsive to our community, and in this case, they brought this crucial gap to our attention. We're excited about this new venture and look forward to optimizing its impact.”
This transcript was edited for clarity.