Tips Offered for Dermatology-Rheumatology Collaborations
(HealthDay News) — Dermatologists and rheumatologists often refer to one another, and in an article published in the November issue of The Rheumatologist, dermatologists present seven tips for rheumatologists to improve this collaboration.
Noting that dermatologists often diagnose and treat patients with rheumatology conditions, the article discusses the crossover between rheumatology and dermatology. The crossover reaches into three main areas: systematic rheumatic disease with major skin manifestations; inflammatory joint disease; and infections that present with a rash that is a complication from a disordered immune system of the rheumatic disease or a due to the immunosuppressant medication.
The article presents seven tips for rheumatologists from dermatologists: (1) aim for collaborative care and education when possible; (2) find a dermatologist who enjoys complicated cases for referrals; (3) don't overuse oral steroids in patients with psoriasis; (4) become comfortable prescribing topical steroids; (5) refer to dermatologists when patients need more time to address their skin treatment; (6) be thoughtful with referrals (e.g., considering the wait time to see a dermatologist); and (7) use technology (e.g., electronic health records) for sharing photos of skin manifestations.
"There's no reluctance to think about each other. It's always nice to keep the lines of communication open," rheumatologist Kelley Weselman, MD, from the WellStar Medical Group in Smyma, GA, said in a statement.