GPs can refer patients to the Integrated Skin Cancer program here.
There is a real need for an integrated approach to skin cancer from both a clinical service viewpoint but also in a wider educational and research capacity due to:
- Current fragmentation of care and wide variability in screening, diagnosis and treatment
- Large public health problem that carries significant morbidity and mortality in the case of delayed diagnosis or inadequate treatment.
- Wide number of health professionals involved in delivery of skin cancer treatment with little coordination
- Not well addressed in the public health system leading to patient seeking treatment in the private/ambulatory setting
- Lack of research for clinical integration, i.e. combining different specialist approaches for better patient outcomes.
The integrated skin cancer centre (ISCC) is built on the concept of horizontal integration and serves to partner specialists (i.e. Dermatologists, General and Plastic Surgeons) with GPs who are interested and motivated to develop expertise in both screening and treatment of skin cancer (see figure 3).
Dermatologists, General and Plastic Surgeons will provide on the spot assessment, being able to generate and execute treatment plans for patients at one consultation. This saves both time and money for patients, avoiding the cost and difficulty of repeated consultations and cross referral delay.
Furthermore, vertical integration through partnership with General Practice will provide streamlined access for patients in addition to providing educational and training opportunities for GPs interested in furthering their clinical expertise.
High-risk patients will be identified through the program and will be highlighted for closer screening at primary and tertiary level. The funding of integrated medical and surgical trainees through the ISCC will provide exposure of training specialists.
Figure 2: Integrated Skin Cancer Centre with multilevel integration and patient centred care focus
Educational and research integration
The ISCC will institute a number of educational initiatives to ensure dissemination of the innovative approach to skin cancer treatment.
- Grand rounds and discussion of difficult cases highlighting the advantage of the integrated approach to skin cancer treatment
- 6 monthly registrar rotations to be trained in the integration of specialties around skin cancer treatment
- 3-6 monthly GP fellowship positions to provide opportunities for interested practitioners to develop further clinical expertise in this area
- Application for research funding into skin cancer outcomes and also skin cancer prevention
- Wider education of preventative and detection strategies to be disseminated to the population of the Sutherland Shire