Explaining rheumatology lab results to a patient or to parents can be challenging. Jay Meta, MD, MSEd, associate professor of clinical pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, shared a presentation at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference on the topic of Red Flag of Red Herring: Rheumatologic Lab Evaluation of Musculoskeletal Pain.
In his presentation, Mehta explained the importance of understanding the nuances of rheumatology lab results. This includes distinguishing between a red flag, or something that should cause concern to a pediatrician, versus a red herring, or something that appears abnormal but isn’t actually a cause for concern.
By interpreting lab results with confidence, pediatricians can confidently refer their patients to a rheumatologist when needed. Mehta used multiple patient samples often presented to pediatricians to show how using different testing options can be important for proper screening.
In the video interview, he went a step further and discussed how he explains such complex results to pediatric patients and their families. When he initially broke the news to a patient, less is more, he said.
The focus is not on the terminology, the focus is on identifying what is most important to the patient at the time, Mehta said.