Worldwide, tens of millions of people are suffering from the health impacts of uncontrolled psoriasis. In addition to the skin disfigurement, people with psoriasis face an increased risk of developing other serious conditions such as depression, cardiovascular disease and psoriatic arthritis.
This suffering is unnecessary. The knowledge and treatments to properly care for psoriasis patients exist. Despite these advancements, many with psoriasis still face “incorrect or delayed diagnosis, inadequate treatment options and insufficient access to care,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
People with psoriasis everywhere urgently need better care and treatment. In response to this challenge, the WHO recommends public and private sector initiatives to educate more medical professionals on psoriasis management, increase patient access to appropriate health services, and facilitate additional research into the disease and its comorbidities.
What exactly constitutes better care and treatment for people with psoriasis remains largely undefined and lacking universal measures. Further complicating the definition of better care is the focus on short-term treatment outcomes to define success — despite the fact that psoriasis is a chronic, lifelong disease with symptoms that can cycle from flare to quiescence over a period of months or years.
Caring for psoriasis patients is more than just managing skin lesions in the short-term. It requires what the WHO terms, “a whole-person approach,” which considers the impact of the disease on patient quality of life, comorbidity risk, disease subtype and treatment goals, in addition to the skin manifestations.
The overarching goal of the IPC strategic plan is to improve the care and treatment of people with psoriasis worldwide. IPC defines better care as personalized care. Personalized care for people with psoriasis uses a mix of genomics, biological data, standards of care and communication to determine treatment goals, i.e. a whole-person approach. Planned in coordination with the patient, personalized care seeks to optimize treatment to maximize quality of life long-term and reduce the risk of comorbidities.
Globally, access to proper psoriasis care is impeded by factors such as economics, cultural norms, market access to treatments, health policy, and patient/provider knowledge gaps in disease management. On a regional or country level, some of these factors and not others may be a stronger contributor to access barriers. Therefore, in order to address global barriers to psoriasis care, we must first understand and catalogue the predominate issues by region that contribute to these barriers.
IPC will focus on identifying and prioritizing barriers to optimal care and develop region-specific actions to improve health care delivery and access to psoriasis-trained clinicians.
Though the past decade has brought notable findings in the area of psoriasis research, there remains significant gaps in our understanding of the disease and its effects on the individual. In order to achieve truly personalized psoriasis care – focused on optimizing treatment for the long-term to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of comorbidities – investigators must have access to clinical and pre-clinical (biomarker) data and the support to analyze it.
IPC will focus on harmonizing registry and clinical data from routine dermatology practices to facilitate the analytics and interpretations of this big data set on psoriasis. Adjacent to this activity, IPC will lead efforts to discover and validate biomarker data, bringing us closer to personalized psoriasis care and improved health.
In its 2016 report on psoriasis, the WHO recommends physician associations provide training to health care providers on the prompt diagnosis and effective treatment of people with psoriasis. Training providers to be more adept at managing psoriasis will help reduce the number of people with uncontrolled disease, according to the WHO.
IPC will continue its efforts to advance psoriasis knowledge through the delivery of live educational events and web-based activities for clinicians with a focus on the best option for care by region.
In order to improve psoriasis care and advocate for policy change globally, the IPC must deepen its connections in particular areas of the world by linking IPC councilors, health care providers and other stakeholders to form regional networks and exploring collaborations with international organizations committed to psoriasis.
In addition, IPC will focus on generating the resources and establishing the organization’s administrative structure to accomplish this wide-ranging strategic plan.
The International Psoriasis Council provided more than 30,000 professionals with disease information, medical education, and clinical resources to improve the care of psoriasis patients worldwide. The number of participants in our online education programs doubled from 2020 and tripled from 2019. Learn more by reviewing our annual report.
We believe that psoriasis patients, no matter where they live in the world, no matter how complex their symptoms, should have access to the best care available to them. Please join us in making this possible.