What should you know about juvenile arthritis?

We are excited here at “Rheumatology Toolbox”. The next webinar is on “juvenile arthritis”. This is the first time for many years if not ever that a national audience of general practitioners have the opportunity to hear from a paediatric rheumatologist on the subject.
There are patients with juvenile arthritis scattered thinly throughout the country. We have one National Centre staffed by two consultant rheumatologists.  This method of teaching (the webinar), we hope will serve as a model for communication between the central services and users spread throughout the country.
We wish as many primary care physicians and trainees is as possible to attend this webinar. It is important to disseminate information concerning juvenile arthritis among general practitioners  so that our national service can be used to the optimum by and for these patients.
To register for the webinar use the following link:  https://rheumatologytoolbox.com/registration/


Last week’s webinar on “Concussion” was a tremendous success.
One participant summed it up thus: “Fabulous presentation. These webcasts are such a brilliant idea and make continuous learning both accessible and enjoyable. Many thanks again.”

The webinar is a very efficient vehicle in which to get an expert to talk to a national audience of general practitioners on a very topical subject.
Another participant commented: “If at all possible I would like to view webinar again

We have been able to record the webinar and it is now available to be reviewed. This new feature we hope will help those who frequently expressed a wish to review the talk again, to clarify points and take notes more leisurely.

It is also gratifying to see the number of new participants coming to the webinars on the recommendation of friends and colleagues.

To register for a webinar use the following link: https://rheumatologytoolbox.com/registration/

To view the recordings of the webinar on concussion use the following link: Concussion in Sport 


“Once again many thanks for a most informative talk. Without doubt you have greatly improved my knowledge of rheumatology. The webinars have caused me to change several aspects of my management of these conditions” – comments such as these encourage further development of this as a vehicle for education.

82% of those who voted at today’s webinar suggested the webinar format is an obvious way to deliver teaching and training. Authorities should take note in their planning, especially in the light of the introduction of new practices in the “under fives” scheme. There are other new innovations in primary care. The delivery of care for patients with asthma and type 2 diabetes is part of a strategy to increase community delivery of care and optimise certain practices.

Wednesday 7th October.

Many general practitioners have involvement with sport both as practitioners and as parents. Next in the ”Rheumatology Toolbox” Autumn Webinar series we will deal with ”concussion in sport”. The speaker, Dr Conor McCarthy, has been involved with the Irish Rugby Football Union for many years and has considerable expertise in issues concerning concussion. The webinar offers a national audience of general practitioners the opportunity to listen to an expert in this field. As usual, registration is free; the webinar is as close as the nearest laptop. This gives obvious savings with regard to time, travel and carbon. You can register through the website RheumatologyToolbox.com

E-learning in Primary Care

“It saves time and travel”
“There are not many rheumatologists around, good to hear one speaking, with practical advice for general practitioners”
“Can get CPD and can get study leave”
“The problems are the same, the advice applies whether you are in Dublin, Dingle, Donegal, Dunmore East or Drogheda.”
“The whole thing is paperless including the references and educational material”
“The software involved has been tried and tested over many years, there have been no glitches”
“I can ask questions before during and after the webinar”

“It is free”

”Convenient times”

“I can  participate in a group or alone,  at work or at home”

” many attend every session, they must find it  worthwhile”


Pain and Pattern

Seven weeks ago one my neighbors’ had a carpal tunnel release. Three weeks later I met her, and she told me she still had a sore hand. She expected that the pain from the operation would have settled by then, but she was worse than ever – she was awake every night because of pain and the painkillers she was receiving were not very helpful. The surgeon had seen her, he was pleased with the operation site and was happy that the carpal tunnel had been decompressed. One of her sons had advised that she go to accident and emergency and another suggested she get a sling and stop using the hand. She was clearly asking my advice and I couldn’t resist trying to help.

The hand was slightly swollen, cool and dusky. Though she described numbness, she did not like it being touched. Most of the pain was in the fingers, the index and middle fingers in particular. I suggested some simple repetitive exercises she should do at home in addition to her other treatments.

Last week I met her again, she described resolution of the pain, restoration of sleep and function.

This anecdote illustrates and number of points I will deal with in the first of the webinars:

  1. Not all pain is the same
  2. Most, in this case all, diagnostically useful information comes from talking to the patient
  3. The patient is the best witness.

Features of The Autumn/Winter Programme

2nd September 2015

The Autumn/Winter programme of webinars will start in three weeks time. The rheumatology presentations have been modified. The content has been compressed in order to make way for some innovations.

Paediatric Strand
We have introduced a ‘paediatric strand’ to cover Juvenile Arthritis and Juvenile Inflammatory Bowel Disease. These two subjects areas are related to rheumatology but are best dealt with by paediatric specialists. These diseases are seen infrequently in primary care, nevertheless we provide an opportunity for the specialists to communicate with primary care at a national level. We hope they will talk about the way their diseases might present in the community, what to look out for and when to refer.

We have again included dermatology presentations, which are ever popular, much requested and relevant to any program with rheumatic diseases.

Concussion in sport
Concussion in sport is topical in the medical and lay press. It is important that we all have some knowledge of the issues with regards to recognition, treatment and consequences of concussion in many sports. We need to be informed with regards to the issues involved. No doubt the forthcoming Rugby World Cup will increase attention on concussion, therefore it behoves us to be knowledgeable on the subject.


Why attend the Rheumatology Toolbox Webinars?

26 August 2015

Why attend the Rheumatology Toolbox Webinars?

In the autumn/winter series there are two tracks, one track includes education with regard to rheumatological features. We all need to regularly review our approach to symptoms.

One track is aimed at helping the practitioner to assess presenting complaints and enquire into other features that might prove diagnostically significant. This is an important aspect of rheumatology because patients don’t present with disease labels, they present with clinical features and complaints. About 70% of the information that is diagnostically significant comes from the history. There is variability as to how patients experience their initial symptoms and how they express them.

The second track in the curriculum concerns specific diseases, particularly the common chronic diseases, those that represent a threat to the patients’ function and future. One can say that in these cases, as with most diseases, early intervention will often make a significant difference to the ultimate outlook.

Primary care physicians need to know the basic tenets of diagnosis of many diseases. In rheumatology as in other disciplines diagnostic criteria and management strategies are regularly reviewed and changed by specialist societies as a result of new insights gained from research. These changes are rarely communicated to primary care physicians. There are no formal channels through which these changes in thinking, this new evidence is communicated. In everyone’s interest these data need to be communicated, the Rheumatology Toolbox in part fulfils in such a function.

The criteria and recommendations developed by various specialist bodies encapsulate key features in diagnosis and management. These have become the “tools” contained in the Rheumatology Toolbox talks.

Why attend a webinar?

Save time and travel (time, cost, carbon footprint). Attend at a convenient location, Should be family-friendly, work-friendly and you can leave if it is not interesting. In the forthcoming program you will be able to watch a repeat of the webinar via recordings.

Disadvantage of attending webinar.

Will not meet colleagues, loose the quiet cocoon of travel time, no free coffee and/or buffet.