Clinicians’ perspectives of shared care of psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis between rheumatology and dermatology: an interview study

Objective: Shared care between rheumatologists and dermatologists is advocated for patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, but care provided by rheumatologists and dermatologists is often siloed, leading to inconsistencies in patient care and outcomes. This study aimed to describe rheumatologists’ and dermatologists’ perspectives on shared care.

Methods: Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 rheumatologists and 12 dermatologists across 27 centers in Australia. Transcripts were thematically analyzed.

Results: Five themes were identified: uncertainties in disciplinary tensions (lacking expertise to make diagnosis, hesitation managing outside of scope, doubting screening tools, defaulting to own disciplinary priorities, hampered by lack of evidence), working in fragmented care (frustration with working in silos, striving to coordinate with primary care, persevering despite inequities in access to care, overwhelmed by managing comorbidities, under-resourced for complexity), building trusting relationships (establishing a culture of collaboration, seeking reliable cross-specialty help, depending on unique skills), prioritizing efficiency (minimizing burden for patients, avoiding resource overuse, deferring to pragmatic decisions), and strengthened by integrated care models (improving the timeliness and accuracy of care, centering on patient goals and understanding, enhancing cross-specialty partnerships, providing opportunities for education and training).

Conclusions: Rheumatologists and dermatologists endeavor to provide comprehensive care to their patients in disjointed healthcare settings but are hampered by a lack of training and a sense of feeling overburdened in the management of comorbidities. Interdisciplinary models are perceived to improve the care of patients but are limited by financial barriers to implementation and concerns about wasting health resources and improperly burdening patients. Key Points • Rheumatologists and dermatologists perceive that shared care models improve the care for their patients with psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis by improving the timeliness and accuracy of management, making the patient the center of care, and enhancing shared care relationships between specialties. • Screening tools to detect psoriatic arthritis may be under-utilized by dermatologists due to doubt about the accuracy of instruments and competing priorities in time-limited consultations. • Management of comorbid disease is challenging for rheumatologists and dermatologists due to a need to prioritize their specialty area and a sense of feeling overburdened while working in fragmented healthcare systems.

Keywords: Psoriasis; Psoriatic arthritis; Qualitative research; Shared care.