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Southampton Health Technology Assessments CentreNews

Does education for people with chronic skin conditions improve their health-related quality of life? Findings from a new SHTAC report are now available

Published: 3 December 2015
Education for skin conditions
Quality of life is commonly reduced among people with chronic inflammatory skin conditions

A SHTAC systematic review has found overall uncertainty about whether or not educational interventions are effective for improving quality of life among people with chronic inflammatory skin conditions.

The review, which was commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme, has been published in the NIHR Journals Library Health Technology Assessment. Quality of life is commonly reduced among people with chronic inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. The carers of people with these conditions, such as parents of children with eczema, can also experience reduced health-related quality of life due to the impact that managing the condition has on their daily lives. The SHTAC review examined whether patient and carer education that aims to improve quality of life is effective in improving it among people with such skin conditions and their carers.

The review identified seven relevant randomised controlled trials and concluded that due to the mixed findings and the generally unclear quality of the trials, it is uncertain if educational interventions are effective in improving quality of life. There was tentative evidence that delivery of patient or carer education over a long period of time (e.g. ranging from six weeks to three months) and that led by multi-disciplinary teams of experts, including dermatologists, dermatology nurses, dieticians, physical trainers and psychologists, may be associated with positive quality of life outcomes.

A separate systematic review, published in the same report, examined the cost-effectiveness of education for chronic inflammatory skin diseases. The review found only three cost-effectiveness studies and concluded that it is also uncertain if education is cost-effective in treating chronic inflammatory skin conditions. The authors made a number of recommendations to inform future economic modelling in this area, including that studies should use a generic, preference-based measure of quality of life and consider the broad range of costs and resource use that is associated with implementing educational interventions.

Overall, the report recommended that there is a need for future high quality, adequately powered randomised controlled trials across all types of chronic inflammatory skin conditions that evaluate theory-based educational interventions and that include adequate long-term follow-up.

For more information about SHTAC’s previous research into skin conditions, please visit our Research page.


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