Background The high prevalence of actinic keratosis (AK) requires the optimal use of healthcare resources. Objectives To gain insight in to the healthcare utilization of people with AK in a population-based cohort, and the management of AK in a primary and secondary care setting. Methods A retrospective cohort study using three complementary data sources was conducted to describe the use of care, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients with AK in the Netherlands. Data sources consisted of a population-based cohort study (Rotterdam Study), routine general practitioner (GP) records (Integrated Primary Care Information) and nationwide claims data (DRG Information System). Results In the population-based cohort (Rotterdam Study), 69% (918 of 1322) of participants diagnosed with AK during a skin-screening visit had no previous AKrelated visit in their GP record. This proportion was 50% for participants with extensive AK (i.e. ≥ 10 AKs; n = 270). Cryotherapy was the most used AK treatment by both GPs (78%) and dermatologists (41–56%). Topical agents were the second most used treatment by dermatologists (13–21%) but were rarely applied in primary care (2%). During the first AK-related GP visit, 31% (171 of 554) were referred to a dermatologist, and the likelihood of being referred was comparable between low- and high-risk patients, which is inconsistent with the Dutch general practitioner guidelines for ‘suspicious skin lesions’ from 2017. Annually, 40 000 new claims representing 13% of all dermatology claims were labelled as cutaneous premalignancy. Extensive follow-up rates (56%) in secondary care were registered, while only 18% received a claim for a subsequent cutaneous malignancy in 5 years. Conclusions AK management seems to diverge from guidelines in both primary and secondary care. Underutilization of field treatments, inappropriate treatments and high referral rates without proper risk stratification in primary care, combined with extensive follow-up in secondary care result in the inefficient use of healthcare resources and overburdening in secondary care. Efforts directed to better risk differentiation and guideline adherence may prove useful in increasing the efficiency in AK management.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjd.17632, hdl.handle.net/1765/121235
Journal British Journal of Dermatology
Citation
Noels, E.C, Hollestein, L.M, van Egmond, S, Lugtenberg, M, van Nistelrooij, L.P.J., Bindels, P.J.E, … Wakkee, M. (2019). Healthcare utilization and management of actinic keratosis in primary and secondary care: a complementary database analysis. British Journal of Dermatology, 181(3), 544–553. doi:10.1111/bjd.17632