Rheumatology Practice Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Pragmatic View

RMD Open. 2020 Jun;6(2):e001314. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2020-001314.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has come with many challenges for healthcare providers and patients alike. In addition to the direct burden it has placed on societies and health systems, it had a significant impact in the care of patients with chronic diseases, as healthcare resources were deployed to fight the crisis, and major travel and social restrictions were adopted. In the field of rheumatology, this has required notable efforts from departments and clinicians to adapt to the novel status quo and assure the follow-up of patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. In the present viewpoint, we provide a practical approach to tackle this reality. Key measures include setting up preventive team management strategies, optimising communication with patients and reorganising patient care in all its dimensions. We then anticipate the nuances of rheumatology practice as restrictive measures are progressively lifted, while an effective vaccine is still pending. This includes the need to reimpose the same strategy as further waves unfold. Finally, we look ahead and address the lessons we can incorporate into post-COVID-19 rheumatology.

Keywords: Arthritis; Disease Activity; Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis; Lupus Erythematosus; Outcomes research; Rheumatoid; Rheumatoid Arthritis; Sjogren’s Syndrome; Spondyloarthritis; Synovitis; Systemic; Vaccination.