Comanche County Memorial Hospital recently welcomed a Rheumatologist to their medical staff. They’re excited about this addition because they say it’s a much-needed specialty for the community.

Doctor Arif Shahzad is now seeing patients at Comanche County Memorial Hospital through Telemedicine.

He said it’s a convenient way to bring relief to so many patients with painful conditions who otherwise would have to wait to be seen by a specialist.

“So, with Telemedicine, this can help patients receive immediate care without traveling a long distance,” Dr. Shahzad said.

He said how they’re doing it is unique. The patient will still come to the clinic to be seen by a dedicated nurse practitioner, or registered nurse for the appointment. Dr. Shahzad will be able to see and hear everything during that time by using telemedicine technology. He said the nurse practitioner or registered nurse will assist with the evaluation and physical exams.

“Such as cardiovascular, heart, lungs, and also a 28 joint count,” he said. “And if needed, she also works at the pain management facility and performs joint injections and drainage.”

Dr. Shahzad says a majority of the patients he sees have an autoimmune disease. While he said it can’t be prevented, it can be treated.

“When you have an autoimmune disease, where it attacks the body, we need to treat patients with immunosuppressant medications to decrease that response, so the body is not causing inflammation,” Dr. Shahzad said.

One condition he sees a lot of is rheumatoid arthritis. He said patients in the community don’t need to suffer and can get the help and care they need quicker now that this specialty is available at CCMH. He’s seen success with treating patients and finding the right care plan for those with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases to live a better quality of life.

“We want to treat patients so that they can be functional,” he said. “They can go out. They can swim. They can go hiking. They can golf and do the things that they love to do without suffering from arthritis.”

Dr. Shahzad will be available through Telemedicine Monday – Friday.