SAA Joins with PatientPoint to Improve Disease Understanding, Treatment at Rheumatology Centers

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) and PatientPoint are working to improve spondylitis education, treatment, and support information at rheumatology practices nationwide.

The partnership will utilize PatientPoint’s platform, designed to educate and empower patients, caregivers and staff to improve health outcomes and patient experiences in a range of specialties. It will use content provided by the SAA, which for more than 35 years has helped to fund research and raise disease awareness, in addition to providing essential support and education.

Spondylitis — an umbrella term which among five other diseases covers ankylosing spondylitis — is a type of arthritis that mainly affects the joints of the spine. Inflammation of the spaces between the vertebrae causes back pain and stiffness. The disease’s hallmark is inflammation of the sacroiliac joints, where the base of the spine meets the pelvis.

Although roughly 2.7 million U.S. residents between ages 17 and 45 live with the disorder, spondylitis is not widely known and is frequently misdiagnosed. There is no single specific diagnostic test, and many of its symptoms can be caused by other conditions. Physicians often rely on the disease’s hallmarks for diagnosis.

“PatientPoint and the Spondylitis Association of America share the common goal of educating, empowering and supporting patients, and that shines through in this campaign,” Kate Merz, a company executive vice president, said in a press release. “We are excited to be partnering with the Spondylitis Association of America on this initiative and look forward to future collaboration on meaningful content that sparks important conversations at the point of care and beyond.”

Developed to improve physician-patient interaction, PatientPoint’s communication platform provides tailored content in key places during medical visits, such as physicians’ offices, and waiting and exam rooms.

Through this effort, rheumatology waiting rooms will feature PatientPoint Communicate digital screens to promote SAA and its website, in addition to rheumatology education. In examination rooms, PatientPoint Interact touchscreens will highlight educational videos, support group information, and an infographic on spondylitis symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

“Spondylitis is not rare; it’s relatively unknown. Raising awareness of the disease is a priority for our organization to decrease the current 7–10 year’s average time to diagnosis from onset of symptoms,” said Cassie Shafer, Spondylitis Association of America CEO.

“By partnering with PatientPoint, we have a unique opportunity to educate more patients and providers about this disease, and facilitate informed point-of-care discussions, ultimately leading to earlier diagnoses and better quality of life,” Shafer added.