Rheum.TV Offers Free Educational Resources for Patients, Caregivers

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Unique Johns Hopkins website houses more than 160 videos covering the spectrum of rheumatic disease.

More than a decade ago, Johns Hopkins rheumatology nurse Victoria Ruffing and rheumatologist Clifton “Bing” Bingham realized there was a significant gap in the care they were able to provide patients. Although in-person appointments allowed for thorough exams, discussions about treatment and follow-ups, there was never enough time for all the education they felt patients truly needed.

“These are complex diseases with equally complex treatments,” says Ruffing.  So, the duo decided to take matters into their own hands. In 2009, with the support of Johns Hopkins’ Division of Rheumatology, they created and released a video on YouTube that detailed how patients should inject methotrexate to treat inflammatory forms of arthritis. Patients previously had to learn how to safely draw drugs from a vial into a syringe to perform subcutaneous injections; there are now auto-injectors for the many drugs approved to treat rheumatic diseases.

Ruffing says she knew the video was a hit when she learned nurse colleagues from across the country were using it to teach their own patients — there was nothing else like it online. (The educational videos for injecting medications have been viewed more than 550,000 times). Soon, she and Bingham and other faculty were making videos to educate patients on topics covering the spectrum of rheumatology diseases — diagnosis, disease state, science and symptoms, and treatments for conditions ranging from ankylosing spondylitis to vasculitis. In 2019, they officially launched Rheum.TV, a website that now houses more than 160 videos they and their division colleagues have made.

“It’s the only resource of its kind on the web,” says Bingham. “We’ve educated thousands and thousands of patients with these videos both within Johns Hopkins and far beyond.” In the last year alone, the video collection received more than 3 million views from around the world. Bingham encourages referring doctors to use the site as an educational resource in their practices.

The most popular videos focus on gout, a condition that affects an estimated 8.3 million adults in the U.S. One video on the importance of diet for controlling this condition has reached over 300,000 views; another on treatment for acute gout has more than 265,000 views.

The team, with web administrator Wes Linda, continues to update the site using what patients ask about in clinic and the latest advances in these conditions to spark new topics. They’ve recently released new videos about why rheumatology patients need flu shots, especially during the pandemic, and COVID-19 information specifically for rheumatology patients.

“We are constantly learning more about these diseases and what will help our patients,” says Ruffing, “so there will always be a need for more videos.”   

Learn More About the Johns Hopkins Division of Rheumatology

The Division of Rheumatology is a thriving clinical and academic center, which concentrates clinically on providing the most outstanding care to patients affected by a variety of common and uncommon rheumatic disorders.

The division operates 7 disease-specific Centers (Arthritis, Lupus, Lyme disease, Myositis, Scleroderma, Sjögren’s syndrome, and Vasculitis) and a large Clinic that concentrates on general rheumatologic problems.

Learn More at HopkinsRheumatology.org.