A new study, presented at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting in San Diego, suggests that simultaneous use of the educational program and electronic medical record ordering tool in primary care improve the treatment for acne.

“Practice gaps exist between dermatologists and pediatricians for treating acne,” said Jenna F. Borok, of the department of dermatology at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

The research team led by Borok surveyed 116 primary care pediatricians for their mindsets toward acne care.

Clinicians then attended an educational session on acne treatment guidelines and began using a tool that developed a treatment plan based on the severity of a patient’s acne and selected appropriate prescriptions.

The researchers have surveyed again those primary care pediatricians 3 months after the program was implemented.

Researchers found that the number of visits coded as acne went from 1,078 to 1,269; the number of dermatology referrals went down 26.3%; and retinoids were prescribed at a significantly higher rate than clindamycin.

In addition, 75% of primary care pediatricians surveyed said acne care management resulted in “minimal or no extra work.”

Borok outlined multiple ways the medical community and patients can benefit from utilizing the techniques described in their study.

“The study showed improvement in care by increasing the knowledge base of pediatricians and allowed them to practice state-of-the-art acne management, optimally consistent with the guidelines,” she said.

“The value of this intervention can [also] be estimated based on the decreased number of specialty consultations and increased acne care visits being delivered at the primary care level."

"This leads to decreased cost to the system by saving money on a consult with a specialty provider, decreased cost to the patient as well as decreased time lost from school and work for an extra visit to specialty care,” Borok continued.

“The decrease in acne referrals also potentially improves access to a dermatology specialist for patients with more critical needs that might not be effectively managed in primary care.”