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Dermatology Online Journal

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Prior authorizations in dermatology and impact on patient care: An updated survey of US dermatology providers and staff by the American Academy of Dermatology


Background: Completing prior authorizations (PAs) can be a lengthy process, which can delay access to appropriate care. A 2017 American Academy of Dermatology survey highlighted that PAs are common across many dermatologic medication classes. However, little is known regarding the impact of PAs on patient care and resource use. Methods: To better characterize the burden of PAs on dermatology practices and their effects on patient care, a survey was conducted in February 2020 among U.S.-based dermatologists (N=3,000) and the Association of Dermatology Administrators/Managers (ADAM) members (N=718). Results: Respondents reported 24% of patients require PAs. Dermatologists and staff spend a mean of 3.3 hours/day on PAs. Sixty percent of dermatologists reported interrupting patient visits for PAs. Sixty-five percent respondents reported PAs were required for clobetasol, 76% for tretinoin, and 42% for 5-fluorouracil. Respondents noted 45% of PA determinations took beyond one week and 17% took beyond two weeks. Respondents reported 12% of PAs resulted in delaying or abandoning treatment and 17% resulted in less appropriate treatment. Conclusions: Prior authorization burden remains high and consumes substantial clinical resources, which may negatively impact patient care. Additionally, they result in prolonged treatment delays and are associated with delaying treatment, abandoning treatment, or using lesser treatment.

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