AAD launches new campaign to raise awareness of impact of skin diseases

Citing a new study assessing the impact of skin disease on patients and the U.S. economy, the American Academy of Dermatology is launching a new campaign to raise awareness of the breadth of serious skin diseases that affect patients, as well as the critical role dermatologists play in an era of team-based health care. The SkinSerious campaign will launch at the 2017 AAD Annual Meeting.

"The impact of skin disease in this country is staggering, affecting one in every four Americans each year and taking a toll on lives, livelihood and our economy," said Henry W. Lim, MD, FAAD, incoming president of the AAD and chair of its Burden of Skin Disease Work Group. "We're launching the SkinSerious campaign to raise awareness of the impact these diseases have on more than 85 million Americans a year, improve access to dermatologists' expertise and increase collaboration with our physician peers to ensure high-quality patient care."

The SkinSerious campaign is supported by data from the "Burden of Skin Disease in the United States" report. This report quantifies the economic burden of 24 skin disease categories on patients and the health care system in the United States, based on an analysis of medical claims in 2013.

The report will be outlined in a series of manuscripts to be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, with the first article and commentary published today. It includes several key findings:

Skin disease is serious and can be deadly.
•Of the 24 skin disease categories analyzed in the study, half are associated with mortality.
•Nonmelanoma skin cancer and melanoma accounted for 60 percent of skin disease-related deaths.

Prevalence of skin disease is high and is likely to increase as the population ages.
•The number of individuals with skin disease across the U.S. population in 2013 exceeds those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or end-stage renal disease.
•One in four Americans (26 percent) reported receiving treatment for at least one skin disease in 2013.
•Nearly 50 percent of Americans over age 65 have skin disease, with an average of 2.2 skin diseases each.

Skin disease burdens Americans, their families and employers.
•Patients and caregivers with skin disease suffered $11 billion in lost productivity. (This does not include additional time for at-home care and treatment, which was not evaluated.)
•$75 billion was spent on skin disease in 2013. The majority of this was for treatment costs, including $46 billion for health care provider costs from medical care.

Building on the Burden of Skin Disease Report, the SkinSerious campaign includes a website, www.aad.org/skinserious, to share patient stories, practices for improving access and facts about the serious impact of dermatologic conditions. Through the campaign, the AAD will work to improve collaboration between dermatologists and their physician colleagues, and highlight the intersections between dermatology and other medical specialties.

"In a 21st century health care system, it's more important than ever that dermatologists work with colleagues across the house of medicine," said Karen E. Edison, MD, FAAD, chair of the AAD's Access to Dermatology Committee and the SkinSerious Campaign Work Group. "SkinSerious will highlight the ways dermatology and other medical specialties work together, while sharing best practices for ensuring patients and physicians can access dermatologic expertise when they need it."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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