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PARE0006 General Practitioners' Education in Rheumatic Diseases
  1. F. Zeitouni
  1. Member of the Board, Cyprus League Against Rheumatism, Nicosia, Cyprus


Background Early diagnosis of Rheumatic Diseases and early referral to the Rheumatologist for specialized management is of vast importance. Early diagnosis means early access to the right treatment. It also means more efficient management that leads to better results such as better prognosis and better quality of life. The key to succeed in early diagnosis is to raise awareness among the General Practitioners (GPs) by educating them in this field.


  • – To develop the GPs' competency to recognize the symptoms that relate to the Rheumatic Diseases.

  • – To educate the GPs on how to proceed with the clinical and laboratory evaluation of the patient in their own practice.

  • – To make the GPs aware about the importance of early referral to the Rheumatologist and to apply it in practice.

  • – To educate the GPs on how to follow up a patient with a rheumatic disease and to keep the rheumatologist updated about the patient's condition.

Methods The Cyprus National Committee for Rheumatic Diseases organized a seminar with the title “Rheumatic Diseases and General Medicine”. 39 GPs attended this seminar, in which the themes were the following:

  • – Is Rheumatology capable in helping the individual and the society?

  • – General Medicine and Rheumatic Diseases

  • – Living with a rheumatic disease, the personal experience of a patient

  • – Rheumatoid Arthritis: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

  • – Connective tissue autoimmune diseases: Lupus, Scleroderma, Dermatomyositis, Vasculitides

  • – Osteoarthritis as seen by the orthopedist

  • – Osteoarthritis as seen by the rheumatologist

  • – Physiotherapy and its contribution to rehabilitation

  • – Occupational therapy and its contribution to rehabilitation

  • – Occupational therapy and its contribution to rehabilitation

  • – The role of the psychologist in patient's management. When to refer?

  • – Algorithms: Laboratory tests, Diagnosis, Medications

It should be noted that the presence of a patient at the seminar and his speech about his everyday experience of living with the disease was an innovative step in the quality of the educational material. The seminar will be repeated with the final goal of educating all the GPs in early diagnosis and early referral of the rheumatic diseases.

Results The actual results of this intervention will be seen in the near future and will be translated in less hospitalizations, less missed labor days and better quality of life of the patients with rheumatic diseases.

Conclusions Early diagnosis of rheumatic diseases is of great importance in the course of the disease. The GP is the first port of call to the patient and GPs with the skills of recognizing the symptoms and accurately evaluating the patient is of major significance. These kinds of seminars raise awareness of the GPs and provide them with the knowledge to increase their skills and attitude towards the patients. The patients' involvement in this objective must also be noted as very important.

Disclosure of Interest None declared

DOI 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-eular.3770

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