Segment 3 - The Primary Care Physician's Role in RA Diagnosis

This segment of the panel discussion focused on the role of primary care physicians (PCPs) in the early detection of RA symptoms. In particular, Dr Fendrick asked about the availability of protocolled guidelines that might help PCPs distinguish between RA and other kinds of arthritis.

This segment of the panel discussion focused on the role of primary care physicians (PCPs) in the early detection of RA symptoms. In particular, Dr Fendrick asked about the availability of protocolled guidelines that might help PCPs distinguish between RA and other kinds of arthritis. The group also began to consider the role of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) testing in RA diagnosis.

Dr Ruderman suggested that testing, while helpful, is not enough. Physical symptoms such as swollen joints can be just as important for a PCP to notice.

“When you ask, ‘where are the mistakes made?’ one of the errors sometimes is being too overly reliant on the test,” he says. “In primary care, people are used to having a number.”

Dr Ruderman added that while there are limited rheumatologists available to see patients, they would rather see patients who may be at risk for RA than turn them away.