In 2010, the Lupus Association of NSW Inc. gained specific funding from Perpetual Philanthropic Services through the Nancy E Pendergast Charitable Trust Fund to produce an online lupus education module to assist mainly general practitioners on diagnosis and management of lupus. With the assistance of medical writers, Dr Claire Berman and Dr John Crimmins from Genesis Ed, we were able to produce an online lupus education module which was launched in mid-2011.

This education discusses the diagnosis of SLE and the criteria, both clinical and serological, required to confirm the diagnosis. The clinical presentation of SLE may differ widely between patients and the range of possible presentations is discussed based on the affected organ(s). The current pharmacotherapies available and their indications and side effects are discussed. Pregnancy and SLE is also discussed.

The format is interactive and includes case-based learning with the educational module presented in a “layered” format:

  • Case studies – present real GP consulting room scenarios and includes video clips to emphasise clinical skills;
  • Module notes – provide detail on the condition and are broken down into a user friendly, easy to assimilate format. All notes are current, consistent with best practice, evidence based and referenced. There are links from the case study and notes to fact sheets, guidelines and best practice online resources;
  • Uploaded documents, reputable and evidence based websites
  • Social network – allows participants to continue to engage in conversations about lupus beyond just doing the activity. The module features video clips of our medical advisory panel member, Dr Stephen Adelstein (Clinical Senior Lecturer Medicine – Immunology and Infectious diseases). The module was also reviewed and edited by Dr Adelstein and Associate Professor Leslie Schrieber, Sydney Medical School.

Participants of the activity will be encouraged to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care and chronic disease management. The module will also be of benefit not only to general practitioners but also to medical students, nurses, pharmacists and other allied health professionals.

The activity will attract CPD points from the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) which will help to attract participants. Considering this online education module has national coverage, the Lupus Association of NSW hopes that general practitioners and allied health professionals throughout Australia will be better prepared to diagnose and manage the illness. This will inevitably lead to a better quality of life for lupus patients and their families and also save lives due to earlier diagnosis.