Follow-up Care Strategy for Patients With Low-Risk Basal Cell Carcinoma
Posted: Friday, April 9, 2021
Patients who have low-risk basal cell carcinoma seem to receive follow-up care more frequently than recommended by the current European and Dutch guidelines; however, there does not appear to be evidence of improved health outcomes with increased follow-up care. Esther W. de Bekker-Grob, PhD, of Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted an analysis to determine the preferences and needs of patients and dermatologists to reduce the regularity of visits. The results of this discrete choice experiment, which were published in PLOS One, revealed a feasible strategy to maintain a high standard of care while substantially reducing costs.
“This [strategy] would consist of having one health-care provider for the initial treatment as well as the standard post-treatment evaluation combined with a personalized letter for the patient with information about diagnosis, received treatment, and personalized follow-up schedule,” the investigators commented. “Further research is needed to determine whether implementation of this intervention will decrease the amount of low-value follow-up visits in practice while maintaining patient satisfaction.”
To assess the level of follow-up, continuity of care, method of providing additional information, type of health-care provider, duration of monitoring visits, and skin examinations, dermatologists and patients were asked to complete a questionnaire. According to the investigators, 371 patients and 620 dermatologists and residents were invited to participate in the study.
A total of 21% of dermatologists and 72% of patients completed and returned the questionnaire. Based on patient responses, if the initial and post-treatment evaluations were performed by the same health-care provider and a personalized handout was provided, the rate of compliance with the guidelines would increase from 55% to 77%; however, according to the investigators, female patients and older dermatologists seemed to prefer additional follow-up visits.
Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.