View from the Field: Making a Difference for Patients through Physician Conversations

Those readers who are following our Vectra Voice regularly know that we are in the middle of a series sharing what happened during our recent Patient Ambassador meeting in Tampa. You can click here to see how we kicked off Arthritis Awareness Month.

At Crescendo Bioscience, we are absolutely passionate about what we do. We firmly believe that the Vectra test is an important objective measure that has the potential to impact every RA patient. That’s why I get so psyched about my job as a Clinical Rheumatology Liaison for Crescendo Bioscience: every day I get the chance to share with physicians how and why this test can make a difference for their patients.

Clinical Rheumatology Liaison for Crescendo BioscienceAs much as I love sharing with doctors the benefits of Vectra, I don’t have the chance to interact with patients nearly as often, which was why it was such a treat for me to spend a few minutes speaking to the Crescendo Ambassadors at the recent meeting in Tampa and speaking about the joys and challenges of what I do.
Crescendo Bioscience is a small company. Our Clinical Rheumatology Liaison group numbers 35 across the entire US. That means that we spend many hours on the road to connect with rheumatologists and other physicians, who often have limited amounts of time. If the physician has never used Vectra before, we have only a quick opportunity to convince them of the value of Vectra and the impact it can have for patients.

Vectra is a paradigm-changer. Historically, rheumatology has been fairly subjective in assessing how the disease was progressing or how treatments were working, largely because there weren’t many objective tools available. Since Vectra became available eight years ago to provide a disease activity score based on biomarker levels, we’ve found ourselves working hard to change old ways of doing things, and we are seeing better and stronger traction.

It’s not always easy. Some doctors just aren’t used to looking at RA from a biomarker-based perspective, and it’s not immediately apparent to them how Vectra can be a valuable tool to assess a patient’s disease activity and whether their treatment plan is working. Other doctors are pretty busy and don’t always have the bandwidth to research and incorporate something new into what they already are doing.

However, once a physician is convinced of the test’s value, it’s incredible to see the impact of Vectra on their patients. We work with several physicians who have altered their testing practices so that results from the Vectra and other tests are in hand when the patient steps into the exam room. This empowers the patient and physician to make treatment decisions based on real information, instead of making a tentative plan that requires confirmation after the lab results come back. For more on this, check out this post by my colleague Kari Kalgren.

Patients whose doctors don’t use Vectra can help educate their physician on its value. We have partnerships in place with lab service providers, who are able to draw blood and send the test to our lab, so that physicians only need to order the test and take a look at the results. Meredith, an Ambassador who was at our meeting, recently shared tips for managing RA with a non-rheumatologist physician, a situation that is becoming increasingly more common. Because a primary care physician cares for many patients with a range of conditions, it’s natural they may not be up-to-date on the latest in RA, and these physicians appreciate a patient who is informed and able to provide the information.

Being able to play a part in making a difference for patients is the reason I am so enthusiastic about what I do. I’m so happy I had the chance to speak with our Ambassadors and share what motivates me and my colleagues to press on educating doctors around the country about the value of this tool.

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