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BJC Health’s Amazing Race

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

BJC Amazing Race2

On Saturday, 37 of our gang (clinic staff & loved ones) gathered at our Chatswood rooms to take part in our annual BJC Health Amazing Race.

Over 4 hours, we attempted to decipher clues and complete challenges, racing around Sydney to beat the other teams to the next destination.

We’re a pretty competitive bunch. So racing means actually running (or walking very, very fast) to get to each successive destination.

The challenges involved:

  • scavenging through a shop finding a noisy Japanese kid’s toy
  • taking photos of 30 strangers being hugged by your teammates
  • convincing a salon to allow a teammate to wash and style another teammate’s hair for $10
  • finding the location where the Wolverine could be found next to Nicole Kidman
  • scoffing an Adriano Zumbo macaron
  • finding some obscure cafe with a White Rabbit & A Global Clock
  • constructing a Nanoblock figure

I loved my team – Sarah, Shiv and Anne . They were really keen and pumped and we came 2nd out of the 10 teams.

It was a fun way to spend the afternoon. Lot of laughs were shared and we have stories to tell.

Check out our Facebook page for more pictures – www.facebook.com/BJCHealth.ConnectedCare

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
Arthritis requires an integrated approach. We call this, Connected Care. Contact us.
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2nd Opinion Musings

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

I saw 2 new patients presenting for a 2nd opinion today.

They’ve seen rheumatologists I know. And while this situation was slightly uncomfortable when I first started out in practice more than a decade ago, that’s no longer the case.

The 2nd opinion is a powerful tool.

Sometimes, patient and doctor just don’t gel. It makes sense for the patient to then find someone else that they can work with in a more productive fashion. The doctor’s personality and practice style isn’t likely to change dramatically.

Sometimes, a fresh set of eyes are needed. A review of what has been done, sans the comfort and baggage of a long therapeutic relationship, may lead to an approach not previously considered.

All rheumatologists have strong practice points and weaker ones. We can’t be all knowing and we have our specific interests. I learned early on to admit this to myself and to the patient. If I don’t know and can’t help, there is likely to be someone else who can.

Occasionally, the patient just needs to hear a number of opinions to help them come to terms with the problem, and to help reinforce the advice they were given by rheumatologist no.1.

I get an increasing number of patients coming for these 2nd (or 3rd or more) opinions. I’m also sure that a number of my patients have moved on and are probably seeing another rheumatologist. The latter isn’t a pleasing thought of course but it is understandable.

What are your experiences with the 2nd opinion?

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
Arthritis requires an integrated approach. We call this, Connected Care. Contact us.
This blog focuses on arthritis, healthcare in general, and Connected Care. Please subscribe to keep in touch:
 
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Arthritis Awareness is a Hard Slog

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

If you are reading this, it won’t be a surprise.

I wouldn’t bother with this blog if arthritis and rheumatology were high profile. I wouldn’t bother if the general public understood the diseases I treat.

Knowledge and understanding of arthritis and rheumatic disease is poor. So we keep trying to improve awareness.

But, it’s a slog.

I’ve been writing about the Don’t Turn Your Back On It campaign. I encourage you to check out this website, with its symptom screener and an uncomplicated video to draw attention to an important cause of chronic back pain, Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Tom videolink QR

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a classic rheumatic disease.

Unless you have it or have a close relative with it, you’re likely to have never heard of it.

The disease name, as usual, is hard to say and hard to spell correctly.

Almost no one would be typing this into google when they’re trying to work out the cause of their back pain, so a chronic back pain sufferer searching the net is unlikely to come across this disease.

Doctors, chiros, physios find it hard to diagnose and often don’t think about the disease as it can present in non-specific ways.

The diagnosis is very delayed, up to a decade on average.

Patients with it suffer, from symptoms, from loss of ability to do things, and from the frustration of not having an answer.

Effective treatments are available, but the crucial step remains getting the sufferer to the experts who treat these diseases (in this case, rheumatologists). And unfortunately, there are so many barriers to this step.

As I said, a typical rheumatic disease.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
Arthritis requires an integrated approach. We call this, Connected Care. Contact us.
This blog focuses on arthritis, healthcare in general, and Connected Care. Please subscribe to keep in touch:
 
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The Back Cave

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

The Vintage Airstream

The Vintage Airstream

As part of the Don’t Turn Your Back On It campaign, the Back Cave is touring Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle over 3 weekends.

This travelling health education set-up was and will be stationed at local shopping malls hoping to capture some foot traffic.

Passer-bys with back pain are encouraged to access the Symptom Screener on the Don’t Turn Your Back On It website via iPad Kiosks. If they want, there are health care professionals on hand to discuss their symptoms and to answer any questions they may have.

On Saturday, Errol put on his physiotherapist hat while I played rheumatologist. We were careful not to provide diagnoses as that would have been inappropriate based on 5 questions and a quick chat, but I must say that there were some suggestive stories.

A couple of thousand flyers were handed out. I think about 40 to 50 people did the screeners during our shifts.

Inside the Airstream

Inside the Airstream

Unfortunately, the poor weather dampened proceedings somewhat but it was a start.

There wasn’t any local media interest which is disappointing, but not that surprising. Arthritis & rheumatic diseases struggle to get media attention. We do need this situation to change.

This weekend, the Back Cave moves to Wollongong, and the campaign marches on. It will be great if you could help.

Visit www.dontturnyourbackonit.com.au and like it, tweet it, share it, pin it, email it.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
Arthritis requires an integrated approach. We call this, Connected Care. Contact us.
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Who’s got your Back?

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

photo 1I was given my campaign T-shirt today and I’m excited to show it off.

Rheumatologists around NSW have been informed that this public awareness campaign is about to kick off.

GPs around NSW are about to receive a range of materials to help them be more aware of this disease. This includes

  • Posters to place in their clinics featuring the Back Pain Maze image
  • A postcard mailer to make them aware of the campaign
  • An insert will appear in a national GP newsletter
  • An Ankylosing Spondylitis fact sheet

These activities have been coordinated and sponsored by Abbvie, and I hope it will serve as a good example of where a pharmaceutical company can help promote disease awareness.

photo 2The plan is to drive patients with chronic back pain to a website (www.dontturnyourbackonit.com.au) where they answer a few questions, which form a screening test, to see if they may have INFLAMMATORY back pain. I’ll write more on the website soon.

Hopefully, the media will be engaged in some way. We can only hope. Arthritis and rheumatic diseases in general are unfortunately rarely in the spotlight. They are not “sexy” diseases. They tend not to tug at the heartstrings like a cancer campaign.

The campaign launches at a local shopping mall with high foot traffic on Saturday. The Back Cave will act as a focal point. It’s a travelling health education service consisting of a vintage Airstream caravan, lots of signage, comfy furniture, refreshments, iPad kiosks to access the website, magazines, flyers, a skeleton or two, and friendly health professionals to talk to passer-bys who may venture into the “cave”.

You’re all welcome to check it out, at Warringah mall in Brookvale this weekend – Location: The Palm Tree Car Park, near Woolworths. I’ll be there from 10 am to 2pm so say hi.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
Arthritis requires an integrated approach. We call this, Connected Care. Contact us.
This blog focuses on arthritis, healthcare in general, and Connected Care. Please subscribe to keep in touch:
 
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