Though psoriasis is a well-known disorder with a variety of treatment options, it is considered an undertreated condition. Because data suggest that nearly 60% of those who have moderate-to-severe psoriasis and are covered by insurance have gone untreated, researchers have begun to explore how to best ensure that more of those suffering from psoriasis get treatment.
While psoriasis may be best treated by dermatologists, it is often initially managed by primary care physicians. To investigate how primary care physicians can help to enhance psoriasis treatment, a research team recently conducted a survey on how primary care providers deal with psoriasis cases and published their results in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
More than 80% of the 147 primary care providers who were surveyed responded that they believed psoriasis was difficult to treat. Whereas only about 11% of these physicians reported using phototherapy for psoriasis, more than 66% indicated that they were not completely comfortable prescribing topical steroids that are highly potent. Nearly all of the primary care physicians said that they were uncomfortable with prescribing systemic agents.
When asked about barriers to referring their psoriasis patients to dermatologists, wait time was the most frequently cited obstacle. Whereas nearly 82% said that wait time prevented them from referring their patients to dermatologists, 29.4% said that post-referral communication problems accounted for their lack of referrals.
The majority of primary care physicians who participated in the survey showed interest in learning from dermatologists. Specifically, 71% responded that they were attracted to the idea of being trained by dermatologists on how to manage psoriasis. According to the authors, this type of training may help overcome barriers to psoriasis treatment and also encourage post-referral communication so that patients with psoriasis are better managed.
Kumar, S et al. (2020). Psoriasis: Knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions among primary care providers. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2020.05.151