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Treatment approaches for improving QOL in ankylosing spondylitis

Healio Rheumatology features an expert Q&A with HSS rheumatologist, Karmela Kim Chan, MD, on the impact of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) on quality of life (QOL) and factors that practitioners and patients should consider to improve QOL.

According to Dr. Chan, lack of finances, health literacy and social support all make dealing with chronic illness much more difficult. However, she suggested, “In the era of electronic health records, the ability of patients to message their doctors in real time is a nice feature — it makes patients feel like we are available to them. Support staff helping patients navigate the health care system, particularly prior authorizations and insurance kinks and the dreaded specialty pharmacies, can be helpful. Providing resources such as patient information pages from the Arthritis Foundation or UpToDate are useful, but a lot of my patients also have really been helped a lot by support groups that the Hospital for Special Surgery [HSS] makes available to patients. This makes patients feel less alone."

Dr. Chan noted, “Investing in oneself is huge and not often talked about. Some important examples include physical health (e.g., time or money spent either in physical therapy or at the gym or other physical activities that patients enjoy) and mental health (a good therapist can make a big difference dealing with issues that come up when one is dealing with a chronic illness)." 

Read the full article at Healio.com/news/rheumatology.