Art, Science Collide to Inspire Clinical Practice

Allison Shelley

October 25, 2018

Art transformed the central concourse at McCormick Place here at ACR 2018 as graphic artist Alece Birnbach interacted with physicians and sketched their vision of the future. (Video by Allison Shelley and John Gress)

CHICAGO — Facing an aging population and looming physician shortages, many clinical practices are bracing for change and re-envisioning what the future of rheumatology will look like.

With the demand for adult rheumatology care growing, practices are feeling the crunch in the face of baby-boomer retirements, researchers, led by Daniel Battafarano, MD, from the San Antonio Military Medical Center, pointed out earlier this year in a report published Arthritis Care & Research (2018;70:617-626).

More women and young people are entering rheumatology practices, marking a demographic shift in care teams. But concerns linger about whether professional supply will outpace demand by 2030.

Three advanced practice provider–physicians teams working in rheumatology shared their experiences integrating allied professionals into clinical practice — a process dogged by difficulty at points —during a session here at American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2018 Annual Meeting.

As teams grow in size and complexity, struggles can emerge, said Tami Brehm, executive director of the interprofessional division of the ACR. "But it's important that everyone plays a role and works together."

Alece Birnbach illustrating visions of the future of clinical practice at ACR 2018. (Source: Darbe Rotach, Medscape)

To this end, Brehm hired graphic artist Alece Birnbach, from Graphic Recording Studio in the San Francisco Bay area, to engage conference-goers so that people would interact.

"It's been a wonderful experience with exceptional feedback," Birnbach told Medscape Medical News.

American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2018 Annual Meeting: Session 3S117. Presented October 21–23, 2018.

Follow Medscape Rheumatology on Twitter @MedscapeRheum and Allison Shelley @allishelley


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