Expert Perspective on the Management of Psoriatic Arthritis - Episode 7

Managing Psoriatic Arthritis in the Primary Care Setting

Recommendations for supporting patients with psoriatic arthritis in the primary care setting and guidance on referring patients to a specialist.

Lana Dykes: My last question is, how do you engage with primary care teams to support their role in diagnosis, timely referral, and ongoing management?

Christopher Parker, DO: This is really important, and I’m really glad that you asked. First, if I don’t communicate well with the people who are referring patients to me, I hope they refer their patients to somebody else. Whether it’s an internal medicine doctor, family practitioner, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, dermatologist, no matter who’s sending a patient to me, I feel it’s so important to make sure they get a well thought out note back from me that helps them understand why I’m doing what I do. It’s important that this note has the data that back that up. That’s always been super important to me. I make sure every single note that goes out goes to not just the referring doctor, but all of the doctors involved in that person’s care. The cardiologist might not care that I’m giving a person one medicine or another, or they might. I’ll leave it to them to decide. I want to be that kind of doctor who is really on the team. I’m glad to use that word [team], because no one can be an expert in everything, so we have to work as a team and really have good communication. The way I foster that is, if things aren’t going well, I just pick up the phone and call. Or if one of them calls me, I make sure they know I’m happy to take these calls. “Here’s my cell number. Call or text when you need me.” Then they feel like we are all on the same team. And patients notice that, particularly if I have to call while they are in the room. I go, “Listen, I’m going to do some doctor’s speak right now,” and I started calling. They say, “He calls? That’s great.” This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it is impactful. And I think it plays out in aces when we do that.

I’ll go on record by saying that I don’t believe it’s done regularly, and that makes me crazy. If I have an iPhone and you have an Android, I can’t borrow your plug-in. It’s the same in medicine. My EMR [electronic medical record] doesn’t talk to the family practitioner’s EMR, probably. This makes it very important that we get a good paper note to them, whether it’s by fax, or mail, or whatever. It gets scanned in so we can all be on the same sheet of music, even if it’s delayed.

Lana Dykes: Well, Dr Parker, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Christopher Parker, DO: Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed it.

Transcript edited for clarity.