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Making the Most of Patient Visits with Practice Integration

As a physician, my first obligation is to help my patients. I am always mindful of ways that I can improve the quality of care for them. Time is at a premium at work, so I am interested in ways I can streamline workflows in my office. It was with these two factors in mind that I was interested in using the Vectra test through a process called Practice Integration.

The Practice Integration model helps doctors and staff separate disease assessment from disease management. In other words, we try to gather data before we meet patients. We schedule blood tests for RA before the office visit. That way we can spend our time with patients talking about test results and what to do next. It’s most often the best use of time for both doctors and patients.

The Vectra blood test has helped me see how active a patient’s RA is. As a doctor, this makes a big difference in how I manage that patient’s disease. It often confirms what a patient is saying they feel. It also helps me to know which patients need to be assessed more often. This way, I can spend more time working with them and less time reading their results while they are in the office. We can act directly on measures of disease activity and safety right at the time of the visit.

Adding Vectra into my office routine was not hard at all. RA blood tests were already part of our process. So it was easy to add Vectra, another rheumatoid arthritis test. By scheduling tests ahead of the office visit, I receive the Vectra results before patients come in. Patients who are on myVectra (patient portal) can also receive their results. This allows more quality time to discuss how the patient is feeling, their Vectra score, rheumatoid factor test result, and other RA tests. From there, we decide if we feel our approach is working or if we want to change something.

From a patient’s viewpoint, adding Vectra has been a success. With a chronic condition like RA, it’s vital that patients have a voice in choosing treatment. Patients have responded to Vectra and this new process in our office very positively. They love having all of their results for review at the time of their visit. They feel more involved with their treatment choices.

At this point, I consider Vectra to be an important tool in caring for patients. It allows me to focus on managing those patients whose disease is most active. At the same time, it frees patients whose disease is less active to focus on their everyday life doing what they want, rather than spending more time in my office.

Based in Clearwater, Florida, Dr. Robert Levin provides the highest standards of care for his rheumatology patients. Additionally, he serves as Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida, has written for several publications and presented numerous lectures relating to his rheumatology specialties in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, giant cell arteritis, sarcoidosis, SLE, systemic sclerosis, osteoporosis, and glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. He is a principal investigator for dozens of clinical trials involving rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, gout, low back pain, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia. He currently serves as the President of the Florida Society of Rheumatology.

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