Whether he is teaching rheumatologists how to leverage technology tools in their practice or working with the ACR’s Communications and Marketing Committee (CMC) to connect members with practice knowledge and support, Suleman Bhana, MD, FACR, a rheumatologist with Crystal Run Healthcare in Middletown, N.Y., is focused on connecting with his colleagues to improve patient care.
Dr. Bhana says finding new ways to build your network and understand the dizzying amount of research and policy changes is more important than ever with the many obstacles rheumatologists face today.
“American physicians are under a lot of pressure to provide the best care for their patients while dealing with challenges, such as reimbursement and pre-approvals—it can be very dejecting sometimes,” he says. “However, getting involved with the ACR and connecting my colleagues to information they need to make a dent in all of this is very satisfying.”
He began his work with the ACR three years ago, after four years into his practice, when he was invited to give a presentation at the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting on using technology tools, such as mobile health apps, in daily practice.
Dr. Bhana found apps and social media tools, such as Twitter, very beneficial early on in his career for building his professional network and keeping up with treatment developments and policy changes that impact his practice and his patients. For example, it was through Twitter meet-ups arranged informally, and now formally, through the ACR that Dr. Bhana met colleague Paul Sufka, MD, who also serves on the CMC. Together, they host a podcast for rheumatologists to share the latest practice updates.
“One of the good parts about building a broad network is the wide range of practice perspectives you learn about from colleagues,” Bhana shares.
Connecting the College to the Rheumatology Community
He says this range of perspectives is also what makes the ACR’s CMC so successful, because the committee includes rheumatologists from different practice settings across the country. He also has a chance to work with experts in different areas of practice, such as pediatric rheumatology, something he doesn’t experience in his own work.
These different outlooks are beneficial to the College because of the wide range of work the committee engages in. Last year, the CMC conducted the first phase of a major overhaul of the ACR’s digital patient education resources, which will streamline content and update information with the latest practices in testing and treatments. These resources are also offered in Spanish, which Dr. Bhana says is a unique and well-utilized option that supports physicians working with Spanish-speaking patients.