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JAMA Dermatol. 2016 Jun 1;152(6):655-60. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.0183.

Modeling the Effect of Shared Care to Optimize Acne Referrals From Primary Care Clinicians to Dermatologists.

Author information

1
Harvard Combined Dermatology Residency Program, Boston, Massachusetts.
2
Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana.
3
Department of Dermatology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE:

Access to dermatologists remains a nationwide challenge. Optimizing referrals to a dermatologist may reduce patient wait times.

OBJECTIVE:

To model the effect of algorithm-based acne treatment by primary care clinicians on referral patterns and costs.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

Overall, 253 referrals from primary care clinicians to dermatologists for acne from January 2014 through March 2015 were reviewed at Brigham and Women's Hospital. No-show rate, diagnostic concordance between primary care clinicians and dermatologists, treatment at the time of referral, and treatment by a dermatologist were ascertained, and we modeled 2 treatment algorithms-initiation of topical treatments by primary care clinicians (algorithm A) and initiation of topical treatments and oral antibiotics by primary care clinicians (algorithm B)-to identify the most effective referral patterns and costs.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:

The primary outcome was the elimination of unnecessary appointments with a dermatologist. Secondary outcomes included reduction in delay to treatment, health care cost savings, and decrease in no-show rate.

RESULTS:

Overall, 150 of 253 referred patients were seen and treated by a dermatologist; 127 patients (50.2%) were not on prescription acne treatment at the time of dermatology referral. Model A reduced initial referrals in 72 of 150 cases (48.0%), eliminated referrals in 60 of 150 cases (40%), and reduced average delay-to-treatment by 28.6 days. This resulted in cost savings of $20.28 per patient, reduction of wait time by 5 days per patient, and decreased the no-show rate by 13%. Model B reduced initial referrals in 130 of 150 cases (86.7%), eliminated referrals in 108 of 150 cases (72%), and reduced average delay-to-treatment by 27.9 days. This resulted in cost savings of $35.68 per patient, shortened wait-time by 9 days per patient, and decreased the no-show rate by 24%.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

Algorithm-based treatment of acne by primary care clinicians may eliminate unnecessary appointments, reduce wait time for treatment, lower costs, and reduce patient no-shows.

PMID:
26950334
DOI:
10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.0183
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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