Patients had a positive reaction to having a primary care physician conduct a clinical skin examination, according to recently published study results in JAMA Dermatology.
Researchers conducted a pilot study using a Veterans Affairs Health Care System to measure the feasibility of PCP skin cancer screening and education from May 1, 2015, to Aug. 30, 2016.
Ten patients who underwent PCP screening by clinical skin examination (CSE) in the study were randomly selected and interviewed by telephone 1 to 5 months postscreening, with interviews 8 to 24 minutes in length. Recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a matrix.
Skin problems ranging from minor to more concerning, including skin cancer, were reported by nine patients, who had received a dermatology examination in the past.
Seven patients reported having conducted a skin self-examination (SSE) in the past.
Nine of the patients had a positive reaction to a PCP conducting a CSE, describing the procedure as “thorough” and the PCP as “very informative.”
Four patients reported preferring a screening exam in primary care, and five patients reported preferring a combination of a PCP and dermatologist for examination.
Although the patients expressed confidence in the PCP to refer a problem if it were identified two patients expressed concern about the PCP’s level of training to identify skin problems.
The researchers reported that study limitations included small sample size and that the pilot study was conducted a single hospital.
“Patients did not describe experiencing any harms from PCP screening … nearly all perceived it as a valuable addition to their existing health care,” the researchers reported. “Additionally, most interviewed patients in our study expressed their willingness to conduct SSEs highlighting the importance of clinician instruction of melanoma warning signs and SSE practices.” – by Bruce Thiel
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.