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American Academy of Dermatology launches new skin disease burden awareness campaign

Inspired in part by a newly published study of the impact of skin disease on patients and the U.S. economy, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is launching a new awareness campaign during its 2017 annual meeting, Mar. 3 to 7, in Orlando, Fla.

According to a press release from the AAD, the campaign—called SkinSerious—aims 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 campaign uses findings from the “Burden of Skin Disease in the United States” report, the first part of which was published online ahead of print in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (Mar. 1, 2017). The 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.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Skin disease is serious and can be deadly.

  • Of the 24 skin disease categories analyzed in the study, half are associated with mortality.

  • Non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma accounted for 60 per cent 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 per cent) reported receiving treatment for at least one skin disease in 2013.

  • Nearly 50 per cent 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 experienced $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.

“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 Dr. Henry W. Lim, incoming president of the AAD and chair of its Burden of Skin Disease Work Group, in the press release. “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’s website——has been set up as a place to share patient stories, practices for improving access and facts about the serious impact of dermatologic conditions.

“In a 21st century health care system, it’s more important than ever that dermatologists work with colleagues across the house of medicine,” said Dr. Karen E. Edison, 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.”

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