Tips for Setting Treatment Goals with the Patient

The Rheumatologist—May 13, 2016

Karen Appold, a writer for The Rheumatologist, highlights different approaches and best practices in treating patients who have recently been diagnosed with a rheumatic disease. Karen explains that a patient and his or her physician should determine a treatment plan, and ensure the patient has a good understanding of the diagnosis and the treatment options that are available to them.

Susan M. Goodman, MD, a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery, explains, "It is important to help patients understand that there are choices, and that their decisions should be based on what matters to them. That doesn't mean providing an encyclopedic list of medications, but rather discussing overarching approaches and goals and finding out what they think is important."

Dr. Goodman continues, "With recently diagnosed patients, it helps to begin with simple goals, such as decreasing pain. Decisions about long-term goals don't have to be made at the first visit, but can be part of an ongoing dialogue. In some situations, decisions and goal setting are driven by specific priorities."

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