Telemedicine and psoriatic arthritis: Best practices and considerations for dermatologists and rheumatologists


Aurora Rheumatology and Immunotherapy Center


Telemedicine encompasses a variety of modalities that allow for the remote assessment and treatment of patients. The technologies, services, and tools available for telemedicine in the USA are increasingly becoming an integral part of the healthcare system to bridge the gaps in care that can arise from geographic and/or socioeconomic obstacles and provider shortages. Telemedicine can be applied to a spectrum of clinical areas, including rheumatic diseases. Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic, inflammatory, multisystem disease with predominately skin and joint manifestations. PsA is often misdiagnosed and/or undiagnosed, which can lead to worse patient outcomes, including irreversible joint erosion and damage. The difficulties in diagnosing and managing PsA are confounded by the emergence and increased use of telemedicine because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine presents the opportunity to increase access to healthcare by rheumatologists and dermatologists to improve training and education regarding PsA and to decrease time attributed to office visits associated with PsA. However, challenges in diagnosing PsA without a thorough in-person physical examination by a trained rheumatologist or dermatologist exist. We provide an overview of the ways telemedicine can be incorporated into clinical care and optimized for patients with PsA; characteristic clinical features of PsA, with a focus on skin and joint signs and symptoms; screening tools to be used in routine clinical care; assessments that can be used to evaluate quality of life, functional ability, and disease activity in PsA; and resources and recommendations for the development of future telemedicine use in rheumatology and dermatology. Key Points • Patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are often misdiagnosed and/or undiagnosed. • Telemedicine can improve access to healthcare by rheumatologists and dermatologists. • Telemedicine can be incorporated into clinical care and optimized for managing PsA.

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