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January 2005

Patient Education and Advocacy GroupsA Means to Better Outcomes?

Arch Dermatol. 2005;141(1):80-81. doi:10.1001/archderm.141.1.80

Patient education programs have been rapidly expanding in health care although their benefits remain controversial.1 Multiple studies have demonstrated that patient education interventions in chronic disease can be of benefit in measured outcomes for both physician and patient. This is most evident in diseases where patient intervention can prevent hospitalization or emergency department visits, most notably in the case of asthma2,3 or diabetes mellitus,4 but also concerns the long-term outcome of other chronic diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease,5 inflammatory arthritis,6,7 and systemic lupus erythematosus.8 Well-designed trials investigating educational status and clinical outcomes in skin disease are, unfortunately, few, but there is at least 1 small study that demonstrates the benefits of direct educational intervention in patients with psoriasis.9 Despite this paucity of data, there is an assumption that patients who have a greater level of knowledge about their disease will have a more favorable disease course.

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