New Webinar: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Managing Gout

Recognizing the multifaceted nature of gout and its intricate links to other health issues, a panel of experts recently convened to explore approaches to gout management.
New Webinar: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Managing Gout

In a recent webinar titled “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Managing Gout,” the Gout Education Society connected a panel of experts from various practice areas including rheumatology, podiatry, primary care, and nephrology. By leveraging their collective expertise, the panelists sought to address the complexities of gout treatment and the ways in which collaborative care is crucial in managing the disease. 

Exploring the central theme of interconnectedness of gout with other chronic conditions, these experts discern proper integration of treatment strategies across multiple practice areas. Through these collaborative care strategies, healthcare professionals can address the diverse needs of patients and mitigate the risk of complications associated with gout. Each panelist provided a final takeaway from the webinar highlighting collaboration, education, and proactive treatment in addressing gout management.

Rheumatologist Ted Mikuls, MD, MSPH, emphasized the significance of understanding the diverse perspectives of healthcare professionals in managing gout effectively. Dr. Mikuls stresses the importance of communication to bridge gaps in care and provide holistic treatment for patients with gout.

“It is striking to hear about both the impact of gout and perhaps, more importantly, the many opportunities that exist to advance practice strategies as a way of improving gout-related outcomes. As a rheumatologist, it is extremely helpful for me to hear diverse perspectives to better understand how patients with gout engage the healthcare system and where gaps in care might exist across medical disciplines. A clear take-home message is the importance of communication across healthcare teams as an integral part of providing patients with gout comprehensive and holistic care.” 

Podiatrist Nicholas Romansky, DPM, highlights common misconceptions about gout from the perspective of podiatry. By acknowledging the systemic nature of the disease, Dr. Romansky provides insight into the crucial role of podiatrists as potential early points of contact for gout care.

“As a foot and ankle specialist, I know that gout is not limited to the big toe as most patients believe. It was enjoyable to discuss collaboration and my role as a podiatrist in the suite of comprehensive care of the disease. Gout can occur in other joints of the foot, ankle, knee, hand or fingers and can debilitate the function of all. As a potential early touch point for the disease’s care, it’s vital that we, as podiatrists, recognize the damage this systemic disease can cause, educate our patients accordingly, and form collaborative bonds between disciplines.” 

A long-time physician assistant in a gout clinic, Joan McTigue, MS, PA, expresses the significance of continued education about gout for both patients and healthcare providers, and shares that timely and comprehensive education can significantly improve health outcomes for those suffering from gout.

“It was nice to hear from the diverse perspectives of my peers during this discussion, particularly around ways of collaborating and common myths we all try to break for both medical professionals and patients alike. As comorbidities can become increasingly complicated, these conversations prove to be important in ensuring optimal outcomes for those under our care. Beyond the direct care given, the follow through with timely and continuous education of the disease for those affected remains to be another effective tool to improve health outcomes. It is up to us as medical professionals to provide this for those afflicted.”

Nephrologist Mark Segal, MD, PhD, discusses the importance of timely and continuous treatment for gout, focusing on the idea that kidney disease should not deter gout treatment but rather underscores an additional need for proper gout management. 

“We have a number of effective treatments for gout. It is up to everyone caring for these patients to make sure that they are treated in both a timely and ongoing manner to achieve optimal results. Having kidney disease is not a reason to deny treatment for gout. In fact, kidney disease is an additional reason to make sure those with gout are getting proper treatment to reduce further risk and damage.” 

Rheumatologist and Gout Education Society Chairman, Larry Edwards, MD, MACR, MACP, moderated the discussion and focused on the need for a multidisciplinary strategy in handling gout, which often accompanies other health conditions. He highlights the need to fill educational gaps, improve healthcare delivery, and dispel misconceptions and stigma around gout.

“Gout can be seen alongside many comorbid conditions, making a multidisciplinary approach to managing the disease vital. However, in discussing the topic across the many disciplines, it is clear that there is much work to be done in regard to providing education, addressing gaps in care, and dispelling myths and stigma. My hope is that these conversations will happen—between doctor and patient, and between doctors—ultimately sparking opportunities for collaboration among those involved in diagnosing, managing and treating gout.”

Family practice doctor, Paul Doghramji, MD, FAAFP, recognizes the chronic and systemic nature of gout, often influenced by genetic factors, that require prompt attention. Whether patients seek initial care from a primary care provider, foot and ankle specialist, or rheumatologist, rapid diagnosis and management of acute attacks is crucial across disciplines.

“Gout is a chronic, systemic medical condition which is often hereditary and needs to be addressed when it comes on as quickly as possible. Whether those afflicted initially come to a primary care provider or they see a foot and ankle specialist or rheumatologist, quick diagnosis, and management of the acute attack and then prevention of the occurrence of acute attack becomes a responsibility of anyone of those disciplines involved. Fortunately, modern medicine allows for enhanced collaboration between the care team. We can all share the responsibility in helping our patients with that goal of getting rid of an acute attack, preventing them from happening and getting their uric acid levels to target.”

Overall, the panelists emphasized the importance of fostering a culture of awareness and understanding around this complex condition. By embracing this collaborative approach to care, healthcare providers can empower patients, improve treatment adherence, fill the education gap, and ultimately enhance the overall quality of life for individuals living with gout.