Lupus education for physicians and patients in a resource-limited setting
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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease with a wide range of manifestations and potential to affect several organ systems. Complications arise from both disease and medications especially glucocorticoids, significantly contributing to overall morbidity and mortality. SLE predominantly affects patients during their prime productive years resulting in substantial economic burden on the patient, caregivers, and society due to direct, indirect, and intangible costs. This illness burden is compounded in developing countries with limited resources due to various disparities in healthcare delivery. Physician education and practical referral and endorsement guidelines adapted to the local setting reinforce continuity and coordinated care. Likewise, patient education, self-help programs, and shared decision-making are essential best practice in the clinics. Both physician education and patient education improve overall outcomes in chronic diseases like SLE. As a developing country with very few rheumatologists and/or lupus specialists, efficient healthcare delivery for most Filipino lupus patients remains elusive. We describe our experience in confronting these challenges through development of strategies which focus on physician and patient education.
• Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease with a highly variable course, requiring specialized, individualized, and coordinated care by a healthcare team.
• Health disparities and limited resources significantly contribute to illness burden on the patient, family, and society.
• Physician education on SLE must commence at undergraduate medical school, be integrated in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, and reinforced through specialized training in Rheumatology and related specialties.
• Patient education and empowerment are integral to improving healthcare outcomes especially in a resource-limited setting.
KeywordsEducation Lupus Patient Physician Resource-limited SLE
The authors thank Lupus Inspired Advocacy (LUISA) of Rheumatology Educational Trust Foundation, Inc. (RETFI).
Compliance with ethical standards
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