Could treating psoriasis in the future be as easy as going online?

For approximately 8 million Americans, visiting a doctor regularly is the key to managing their psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by itchy or painful red patches that can appear anywhere on the body. But for some people, seeing a specialist regularly can be a monumental challenge, especially for those who live in rural or underserved communities. A new study led by the Keck School of Medicine of USC, however, raises the possibility that one day, people with psoriasis may be able to simply go online to receive their care. Published today in JAMA Network Open, the study found that online and in-person care were equally effective at improving psoriasis symptoms.

"Patients with chronic skin diseases need ongoing care, and depending on where they live, their access to dermatological care can be variable," says the study's lead author April Armstrong, MD, MPH, professor of dermatology (clinical scholar) and associate dean for clinical research at the Keck School. "Our study suggests that an online care delivery model is an effective way to bring high-quality care to patients regardless of where they live or what their work/life schedules look like."

In the multicenter study, Armstrong and her colleagues followed nearly 300 patients who had been randomized to either online or in-person care and monitored their symptom improvement.

Patients assigned to online care logged in to a secure, web-based connected health platform where they could communicate with their primary care provider or dermatologist, share images of their skin and receive treatment recommendations. After reviewing transmitted information, health care providers evaluated patients' progress, provided patient education and prescribed medications electronically. Patients assigned to in-person care received treatment as usual.

Psoriasis severity was measured at baseline and again at three, six, nine and 12 months. Across the follow-up visits, the two groups achieved similar improvement in psoriasis severity scores.

"From a patient's perspective, there are several benefits to an online care delivery model: They don't need to travel to a facility with specialty care, they can receive high-quality specialty care at home and they can communicate with their doctor at a time that's convenient for them," Armstrong says. "From a provider's perspective, the benefits include flexibility in where and when they work."

While this study focused on patients with psoriasis, Armstrong believes that the online care model has other potential applications as well.

"The use of teledermatology needs to be considered in other patient populations with chronic skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis. There is a critical need for children and adults with atopic dermatitis to receive high-quality specialist care for this condition through novel telehealth delivery methods," she says.

Armstrong AW, Chambers CJ, Maverakis E, et al.
Effectiveness of Online vs In-Person Care for Adults With PsoriasisA Randomized Clinical Trial.
JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(6):e183062. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3062.

Most Popular Now

Imfinzi is the first immunotherapy to demonstrate …

AstraZeneca and MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm, have presented data on overall survival (OS) in the Phase III PACIFIC trial of Imfinzi durin...

Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge #SandozHACk ret…

Sandoz, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division, today announces the launch of the second Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge (HACk). The #SandozHACk is a global co...

Global survey reveals that physicians need more in…

Results from a new global survey revealed that more than one-third (36%) of the 310 physicians surveyed do not think they have sufficient information required to make inf...

In clinical trials, new antibody therapy controls …

Thanks to improvements in antiretroviral therapy, HIV is now a manageable condition. Yet even the best drugs do not entirely eliminate the virus, which latently lingers i...

Novartis licenses three novel anti-infective progr…

Novartis announced today that it has entered into a licensing and equity agreement with Boston Pharmaceuticals for the development of three novel anti-infective drug cand...

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2018 was…

Cancer kills millions of people every year and is one of humanity's greatest health challenges. By stimulating the inherent ability of our immune system to attack tumor c...

Pfizer to award more than $3 million in grants to …

Pfizer Inc. today announced the recipients of the Advancing Science through Pfizer Investigator Research Exchange (ASPIRE) Breast Cancer Research Awards. Four grants tota...

FDA approves first treatment for advanced form of …

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Libtayo (cemiplimab-rwlc) injection for intravenous use for the treatment of patients with metastatic cutaneous squam...

DNA islands effective as 'anti-bacterial drones'

Genomic "islands" that evolved from viruses can be converted into "drones" that disable Staphylococcus aureus, bacteria that are often resistant to antibiotics and pose a...

FDA awards 12 grants to fund new clinical trials t…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that it has awarded 12 new clinical trial research grants totaling more than $18 million over the next four years to...

Addressing social and cultural drivers of type 2 d…

New research shows healthcare services and public health strategies aimed at reducing the burden of type 2 diabetes may prove ineffective, unless they address social and ...

Evidence mounts linking aspirin to lower risk of o…

Taking a low-dose aspirin daily may help women lower their risk of developing ovarian cancer. A new study co-led by Moffitt Cancer Center found that women who reported ta...