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Alfredo Rivadeneira, MD

This past April, the Arthritis Foundation and the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City hosted the 2024 Rheumatoid Arthritis Research Summit. Among many important topics covered at the summit was the shortage of rheumatology care in rural areas.

Dr. Alfredo Rivadeneira, Professor of Medicine in the Div. of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology (UNC) and Medical Director of the UNC Therapeutic Infusion Center, was invited to attend the event and speak to attendees about this collaborative pilot project between UNC rheumatology and Piedmont Health Services in North Carolina started in 2022 and supported by the Arthritis Foundation.

As reported by Medscape Medical News, Dr. Rivadeneira said the following at the event: “We found that this pilot, a unique partnership in North Carolina, improves access to rheumatology care to a rural population with high satisfaction scores. It underlines the importance of seeking collaboration with community providers when implementing these programs. It also allows timely specialty care and alleviates the barriers relating to transportation, insurance coverage, and telecommunication challenges.”

This pilot project also includes tailored educational sessions designed to empower Piedmont Health Services providers for evaluating and managing patients with rheumatic diseases. The educational component of the project includes monthly didactic sessions offered to all Piedmont Health Services providers across 12 locations.

During his talk at the Rheumatoid Arthritis Research Summit, Dr. Rivadeneira emphasized “the importance of having the generalists with the patient, relaying the objective data, especially the physical exam,” while noting that this process is one of the great features of the pilot study’s model as it greatly enhances the telehealth visit.

To learn more about this study, read the full article from Medscape online here.