As one of the first lines of defense, primary care professionals need to have a wide knowledge base to properly educate and counsel patients, as well as screen, diagnose, treat, and manage specific conditions.
In this issue, we highlight dermatology care and raising patient awareness regarding changes in the condition of their skin, specifically those associated with melanoma. Raising patient awareness is key for detecting this condition, because patients need to be able to recognize changes in their skin before coming to you for screening.
This month, we are featuring an article about melanoma screening and diagnosis by Richard P. Usatine, MD, Professor of Family and Community Medicine at The University at Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. In his article, Dr Usatine discusses the importance of raising patient awareness about skin changes, as well as best practices to diagnose and treat patients with melanoma (see "How to Avoid the Missed Diagnosis of Melanoma"). This article is a valuable read, because it brings together the different facets of interprofessional care, from pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and physicians in retail clinics, to primary care providers and specialists. All are needed to accurately and efficiently screen, diagnose, treat, and manage patients.
In another article included in this issue, Pamela B. Edwards, EdD, MSN, RN-BC, Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Education at Duke University Health System, Durham, NC, took the time to speak with us about the role of the interprofessional care team in improving patient outcomes (see "The Strength of the Healthcare Team Lies in Its Diversity"). “We have strength in our diversity as healthcare teams consisting of professionals from various disciplines,” she told Inside Patient Care. “We are stronger together, and…teamwork has the potential to improve any outcome.” Each member of the healthcare team has a different asset to contribute to patient care, and it is by working together that we will provide optimal access to quality care.
Andrea Brookhart, PharmD, Patient Care Coordinator at The Kroger Company, Charlottesville, VA, shares with us the lessons she and her team learned from implementing a collaborative practice agreement. Although laws vary from state to state, she explained, the concept of collaborative practice agreements is another conduit through which pharmacists can play a greater role in the healthcare team, practice as providers, and impact patient care (see "Lessons Learned from the Implementation of a Collaborative Practice Agreement"). This is another example where the members of the healthcare team step up to the plate to identify patient needs and work together with other providers to improve patient care.
We are also pleased to announce the addition of 2 new editorial board members: Harry Leider, MD, MBA, FACPE, Chief Medical Officer and Group Vice President at Walgreens Co., who will be joining us as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the publication, and Michael Feehan, PhD, from the Department of Pharmacotherapy at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. As always, we hope you will enjoy this issue of Inside Patient Care, and look forward to your feedback.