January 9


IN THIS ISSUE / January 9, 2019

Smartphone app improves treatment adherence for psoriasis patients

A recent study from the British Journal of Dermatology found that psoriasis patients using a smartphone app for daily topical medication reminders had increased short-term compliance. Each patient was given calcipotriol/betamethasone dipropionate cutaneous foam to apply once daily. The medication canister was equipped with a chip that recorded the date and time of each application. 

Patients in the intervention group were given an app that sent daily reminders to their phone to apply the medication. At the end of four weeks, 65% of patients using the app were compliant in using the medication versus 38% of patients from the non-intervention group, indicating that patient treatment adherence and psoriasis disease severity can be improved by using a smartphone application for daily reminders.

Read more about how digital devices play a role in the practice of dermatology in Dermatology World.

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AAD mourns the passing of Stephen I. Katz, MD, PhD

katz-obit.jpgThe American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has learned with sorrow of the passing of Stephen I. Katz, MD, PhD, on Dec. 20. Dr. Katz was an internationally respected physician, scientist, and administrative leader, as well as a pioneer in immunodermatology. In his 40-year tenure as a senior investigator and then chief of the National Cancer Institute Dermatology Branch, Dr. Katz trained and mentored numerous national and international academic dermatology leaders, many of whom have gone on to attain high-ranking positions at institutions around the world. Since 1995, Dr. Katz achieved great success as director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). He was recognized with the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civil servant, for his contribution to the NIH. In recognition of his extensive leadership contributions to dermatology, both within and outside of the Academy, Dr. Katz received the Academy’s Gold Medal award in 2018 — the Academy’s highest honor. The AAD also named him a Master Dermatologist in 2005.
Dr. Katz was born in New York in 1941 and lived in the Washington, D.C., area. He graduated with honors from the University of Maryland and Tulane University Medical School. He completed a medical internship at Los Angeles County Hospital and did his dermatology residency at the University of Miami Medical Center. He also served in the U.S. military at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, obtaining a PhD in immunology from the University of London. 
Dr. Katz is survived by his wife, Linda, and his children, Mark Katz, MD, Academy member Kenneth A. Katz, MD, MSc, MSCE, and Karen Katz.

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Submit your comments on psoriasis draft guidelines

The AAD is requesting member comments on its Guidelines of Care for the Management and Treatment of Psoriasis with Phototherapy. View the draft guidelines and submit comments

The Academy kicks off 2019 with a new Strategic Plan

Olbricht-dww-web.jpg“The forward-thinking plan establishes priority for Academy programs that serve our members’ needs — from education to guidelines and data-driven transformation, to leading care teams, to advocating for patient access to skilled care and appropriate treatments.” AAD President Suzanne Olbricht, MD, introduces the AAD new Strategic Plan. View the full story.


Increased competition causes falling prices for infliximab and biosimilars 

Prices for infliximab (Remicade®) and its biosimilars infliximab-dyyb (Inflectra®) and infliximab-abda (Renflexis®) have been falling, according to analysts. While new biosimilars are obtaining FDA approval, most have not been able to enter the U.S. market due to patent and other legal battles (read more about this in Dermatology World). Infliximab is one of the few biologics that is facing competition from biosimilars, and this competition is lowering the prices for both the biologic and its biosimilars.

Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal wrote that infliximab prices are down 10.7% year over year, compared with 24.2% for infliximab-dyyb, and 18% for infliximab-abda. The biosimilars currently offer about a 25% discount to infliximab’s pre-competition price. Prices will need to come down a little more, however, before it makes sense for payers to make a wholesale switch, said Gal. In October, UnitedHealthCare decided to tag the biosimilars as preferred for its Medicare Advantage plans.

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2019 AAD Election ballot packet moved online

Beginning in 2019, eligible voting members will receive an email with an embedded link to view the ballot book and vote online. Voting members with email on file with the Academy will no longer receive an election ballot packet by mail. Paper ballots may be requested at candidates@aad.org

  • Members who wish to receive a PDF ballot book by email may request it at candidates@aad.org
  • Members who wish to vote by mail may print their online secure voting ballot beginning 
    March 2. NOTE: All ballots must be received by March 16 at 11:59 p.m. (ET)

2018 MIPS data submission period now open

Eligible clinicians who participated in the 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) can now submit MIPS data through April 2, 2019. If you are submitting data via the CMS Web Interface, you can report your data between Jan. 22 – March 22, 2019. For clinicians who reported quality measures via Medicare Part B claims throughout the 2018 performance year, CMS will receive your quality data from claims processed by your Medicare Administrative Contractor. Claims for services furnished during 2018 must be processed within 60 days after the end of the 2018 performance period.

To submit your data, go to the QPP website at https://qpp.cms.gov/login. Login using your QPP access credentials, and then submit your data for Year 2 (2018). If you previously had an Enterprise Identity Management (EIDM) account, then you have been automatically transitioned to the new system — HCQIS Authorization Roles and Profile (HARP) — and you can use the same login credentials. If you’re a new clinician without an EIDM account, you’ll need to register with HARP from the same QPP login page.

In related news, the partial government shutdown will not affect Medicare payments and no claims will be delayed due to the shutdown.

Not sure if you’re eligible to participate in the QPP? Check your status using the QPP Participation Status Tool. Questions about how to submit your data? Contact the QPP by phone at 1-866-288-8292 or email at QPP@cms.hhs.gov.