Data from Dr Elizabeth Angier - Curated by EPG Health - Last updated 13 June 2017

Experiences of EAACI by a primary care physician

As a primary care physician, you may wonder why I would want to attend the annual congress of EAACI – a multidisciplinary congress on allergy & immunology. In fact, I’ve been going to the annual conference for many years now and find it’s a great platform for discovering the latest treatments and taking part in cutting edge allergy & immunology discussion. For those of you not familiar with EAACI – the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) is a healthcare organisation who are this year holding their annual congress in Helsinki. This blog is a short overview of my experiences.

Not just for specialists

The congress was initially for only specialists – but there is now have much more to offer to the allied health and primary care audience, with multiple opportunities for primary care physicians to get their hands dirty with allergy and immunology topics.

Allergy is best taught through a combination of theory and practice – so there are plenty of demonstrations and interactive sessions, ensuring you can keep your practical skills up to date. There are demonstrations of skin prick tests, use of adrenaline injectors, spirometry and use of inhalers. Crucially, we also look at simulated anaphylaxis training which enables all physicians to refresh their knowledge of the acute management of anaphylaxis – an important and potentially life-saving skill.

Learning

Of course, theory is well served through plenary sessions and workshops – but there are many other opportunities to learn. The abstract sessions and “year in review” plenaries are good signposts to know what hot-topics the allergy world is discussing, but as a GP I feel they could be improved through detailing what this means for primary care.

Debates and hot topics

The debates see two healthcare professionals face-off, and are a light-hearted way of making tough subjects accessible, whilst discussing nuanced concepts and conveying serious points. I am looking forward to debating “Immunotherapy in the community” – a controversial topic that spans quality of care pathways and patient safety. My opposition will be my colleague Dr Désirée Larenas-Linnemann from Mexico – I hope we can remain cordial afterwards!

Primary Care Interest Group

The Primary Care Interest Group of EAACI was established in 2013 and is part of the specialist interest group within WONCA (the World Organization of Family Doctors). The work of this group is vital in promoting links between allergy and primary care, through presentations to WONCA, the Internal Primary Care Respiratory Group and roundtable meetings with UEMO (European Union of General Practioners). We have also co-written with our specialist partners pan-European papers on allergy and immunology in a primary care setting.

New Guidelines

EAACI will be launching their new guidelines on immunotherapy in the Autumn of 2017, including a paper on the Primary Care aspects of this. As part of this work we performed a ‘Situational analysis across Europe’ about immunotherapy and its use with different stakeholders. Immunotherapy is a topic GPs may be asked about on the patient pathway and one that relies on trust and good communication with specialists – we feel that good allergy care relies on a spirit of collaboration between primary care and the allergy and immunology community.

2017 and beyond

2017 will see the Primary Care Group merging with the Allied Health Group. The recognition that allergy care can and should be delivered by the interdisciplinary workforce is an important one and reflected through the setting up of a task force to look at competencies for primary care.

The links between primary care and EAACI continue to grow year on year. So, what’s allergy got to do with it? Well everything really!

References

Link to open access article Abstracts EAACI 2016 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/all.2016.71.issue-S102/issuetoc

  1. Haahtela1 T, Hertzen1 L, Mäkelä1 M. Finnish Allergy Programme 2008–2018—time to act and change the course. Allergy 2008; 63 (6): 634–645. G
  2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/all.12225/full Blueprint for allergy
  3. Lack paper 

Hot topics: Du Toit G, Roberts G, Sayre PH et al; LEAP study team. Randomized trial of peanut consumption in infants at risk for peanut allergy. N Engl J Med 2015; 372: 803-13.

Primary Care papers: Agache I, Ryan D, Rodriguez MR, Yusuf O, Angier E, Jutel M. Allergy management in primary care across European countries -- actual status. Allergy 2013;68:836-43.

Jutel M, Angier L, Palkonen S, Ryan D, Sheikh A, Smith H, et al. Improving allergy management in the primary care network--a holistic approach. Allergy 2013;68:1362-9.

Ryan D, Angier E, Gomez M, Church D, Batsiou M, Nekam K, et al. Results of an Allergy educational needs questionnaire for Primary Care. Allergy 2017.

Jutel M, Papadopoulos NG, Gronlund H, Hoffman HJ, Bohle B, Hellings P, et al. Recommendations for the allergy management in the primary care. Allergy 2014;69:708-18.

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