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Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis Management Tool for Pediatric Primary Care Providers

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is among the top two diagnoses that pediatric dermatologists see, but the shortage of such specialists means that a good reference tool that could standardize and improve clinical outcomes and suggest proper treatment protocols would be helpful. As past studies have shown, pediatricians were less likely than dermatologists to use topical steroids for active AD.

A recent study tested an algorithm for primary care physicians (PCPs) that addressed the use of topical steroids, treatment of manifestations such as infection and itching, gentle skin care, and trigger avoidance. The goal was to improve PCPs recognition of AD and provide a decision-making tool to treat AD. Pediatric dermatologists collaborated to create the management algorithm based on generally accepted best practice guidelines. Specifically, providing information about recognizing key features of AD and designing an appropriate treatment plan for AD. In addition, the tool offered a skin atlas to help the user identify the severity of AD based on Fitzpatrick skin type, to recognize viral and bacterial superinfection, and a table to help select the appropriate strength of topical steroid based on body location and severity.

The results of the algorithm test showed that the AD management algorithm improved knowledge about the diagnosis and management of AD for pediatric primary care residents and attending physicians. The tool was particularly effective in increasing the recognition of bacterial and viral superinfection. Participants who received the algorithm used the information regarding severity grading, topical steroid potency, and gentle skin care most frequently. The PCPs also reported that they liked the tool and would likely use the tool in practice, particularly the topical steroid table.

The authors conclude that despite the small sample size testing the algorithm, their research demonstrates preliminary evidence an AD algorithm aids knowledge about AD and that the algorithm was well received.
Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: August 15, 2017

Source: Wiley Online Library
Adapted from the original article.

[Image: Shutterstock]

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