The future of dermatology: Speakers to focus on teledermatology, big data, reimbursement

Dermatology’s future will get the spotlight during the scientific session “The Future of Dermatology: What Changes are Coming and How Can We Prepare?” The session, which takes place from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Room 2018 of Moscone West, will help attendees keep up with the rapid changes in dermatology.

“We plan to examine some of the major forces shaping the future of our specialty — forces that we can either proactively work as a specialty to shape and prepare for, or that could overcome us if we don’t adapt,” said Jack S. Resneck, Jr., MD, course director.

Carrie Kovarik, MD, will discuss the disruptive innovation of teledermatology, which is being used more often in positive ways, but is still sometimes leading to fragmented care.

“In many cases, the providers delivering this care have no access to patient medical records, are working without adequate history or images, and the diagnoses made and prescriptions written are not communicated to the patient’s existing health care team,” Dr. Resneck said. “This technology has great potential to improve care when used properly, and has equal potential to fragment and worsen care when deployed without regard to quality.”

Marta VanBeek, MD, MPH, will discuss the rapidly changing world of big data and the specialty’s imminent need to collect its own data if dermatologists are going to be able to continually improve care, demonstrate their quality and relevance to patient’s health and lives, and be able to participate in evolving delivery and payment systems.

“Others are collecting enormous amounts of data about the care we provide. We can either sit back and allow them to define quality and efficiency, or we can take a role in collecting our own data, defining our own metrics, and performing our own meaningful analyses,” Dr. Resneck said. “The AAD is soon launching a major data platform to allow us to determine our own metrics, compare ourselves to our colleagues and find areas for system improvement, and participate in new payment systems so we are not left in the past. Dr. VanBeek will share the plans for this important initiative.”

The third speaker will be Steven Stack, MD, president-elect of the American Medical Association. When he becomes AMA president in June, Dr. Stack will be 43, making him the youngest AMA president in the last 100 years. Dr. Stack is an emergency department physician in Kentucky, and is nationally recognized for his expertise in health information technology.

Dr. Stack and the AMA have worked closely with the AAD this year on several shared priorities – including the problems of insurers narrowing networks and posting misleading network directories, the broken Medicare physician payment system, the regulatory tsunami facing physicians with cumulative penalties, shortages of generic drugs, and telehealth.

“Dr. Stack will discuss what he believes physicians and our medical societies must do in the near future to recognize the changes and challenges we face, shape them where possible, and adapt so that physicians can continue to thrive and provide high quality care to our patients,” Dr. Resneck said. 

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