Report from Dr. Bruno Duarte – ADCARE Centre – Hospital Santo António dos Capuchos
Active ADCARE member Dr. Bruno Duarte (ADCARE Centre – Hospital Santo António dos Capuchos, CHULC, Portugal) delivered a speech at the XXI Portuguese National Dermatology Congress, presenting to a full audience of Dermatologists our centres experience with the multidisciplinary Atopic Dermatitis (AD) clinic, certified by GA²LEN ADCARE.
Physicians are aware that Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is an exceedingly common and complex inflammatory disease which significantly impairs physical and mental health. Thankfully, in recent years we have seen unprecedent breakthroughs on this immune-driven disease treatment landscape. As the referrals of severe AD and availability of innovative therapies increase, so increases the need to ensure that the best evidence-based knowledge is delivered to our patients. Multidisciplinary AD clinics accredited by GA²LEN ADCARE, composed by experienced physicians and nurses, aims to accomplish the latter by adhering to a set of criteria which ensures excellency in AD care across the globe.
Several benefits of specialized AD clinics were identified and discussed in the meeting. From a patient perspective, the skilled management offered in AD focused consultations, the easier communication with healthcare practitioners (HCPs) (telephone and/or emails contacts are handed to every patient), the increased satisfaction with care and support (1:1 consultations which both the physician and nurses), reduced costs (less travel for lab work and treatment initiations as these processes get more streamlined) and disease awareness (staff develop advocacy activities) are some of the advantages in this patient-centred model. In our experience, a dedicated nursing staff also improve non-atopic comorbidities, especially psychosocial, which are difficult to address in the time-limited consultation with the AD
Several benefits are also present for HCPs, such as workload sharing (between physicians and nurses, of paramount importance with the staffing shortages in healthcare), knowledge sharing (with different medical specialities), development of strong AD expertise and training opportunities to younger colleagues. It is also resource-sparing if referral pathways are efficiently designed (AD patients may be directly referred to specialized care centres, instead of a general dermatology/allergology consultation where the patient may need a new referral). Lastly, the discussion led to the many opportunities for developing research, both in clinicals trials and investigator-initiated research projects.
It was overall an interesting session and we’re confident that more centres, Portuguese and abroad, will join ADCARE network in the future. Our AD patients will surely be grateful.