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Online toolkit helps GPs tackle rising rates of skin cancer

Cancer Research UK and the British Association of Dermatologists launch education initiative on Doctors.net.uk

Online Physician CommunitiesAs gatekeepers to secondary care, GPs have an essential role to play in diagnosing skin cancer, which is now the most common form of the disease in the UK. However, they receive very limited training in dermatology.

To help tackle this problem, Cancer Research UK, the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) and Doctors.net.uk have launched an updated online toolkit that provides a range of images from real-life, in-clinic cases, to illustrate which lesions require urgent referral, routine referral or are benign.

Investment in the digital toolkit comes as Cancer Research UK announces that rates of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are now five times higher than 40 years ago.

The toolkit supports GPs in assessing atypical/borderline lesions in a variety of ways, including an image library, a forum that enables them to discuss lesions and share their experience, and clinical cases studies.

GPs will be able to access this important tool on their mobile devices ensuring that it is always accessible. GPs will also be able to record their learning in an online appraisal folder.

The first digital toolkit developed by Cancer Research UK and BAD was launched on Doctors.net.uk in 2012, and helped GPs identify 'red flag' cancer symptoms. An in depth analysis of the programme in 2013 showed that its users had significantly increased their confidence in referring skin lesions. The toolkit was used by over 10,000 GPs and was highly commended in the PM Society Digital Awards 2013.

Nina Goad from the British Association of Dermatologists said: “Skin cancer is the UK's most common type of cancer – in fact it is more common than all other cancers combined. One of the problems is that GPs receive very limited training in dermatology – as little as a week – and are then expected to be able to recognise cancerous lesions from a whole host of other issues, and to know which to refer urgently.

“Not only is this a problem for the GPs, but it can also delay the patient accessing a consultant dermatologist. This toolkit, available across a range of media platforms, is a simple visual guide, highlighting the differences between the many different types of skin cancer and non-cancerous lesions. We hope it will be bookmarked and used regularly by doctors as it is a very valuable tool.”

Liz Bates, primary care engagement lead for Cancer Research UK, said: “GPs are expected to constantly maintain and improve their knowledge, but with increasing demands on their time, we know that GPs are struggling to find time to study. We are committed to providing educational content that is easy to access and targets real problems that GPs face in day-to-day practice. We believe that digital innovations are key to providing the vital information that GPs need at their fingertips.”

Dr James Quekett, a practising GP and director of educational services, Doctors.net.uk, commented: “This much-needed resource provides an excellent, structured, problem-based approach to the diagnosis of malignancy. What is particularly valuable is that it has the input of specialists but it is presented in a format that is useful for the problems GPs encounter in primary care. It moves away from a teaching model into a collaborative learning approach which is much more effective.”

By Dr Tim Ringrose, CEO of M3 Europe

For more information on M3, the global provider of technology services in healthcare, and its new European Division which includes www.doctors.net.uk, www.mdlinx.com, and www.networksinhealth.com, please call Tim Ringrose on +44 (0)1235 828400, or email Tim.ringrose@eu.m3.com 

19th May 2014

From: Marketing

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