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Open Access Research article

Analysis of health care and actual needs of patients with psoriasis: a survey on the Italian population

Emma Altobelli1*, Mara Maccarone2, Reimondo Petrocelli1, Ciro Marziliano1, Alberto Giannetti3, Ketty Peris4 and Sergio Chimenti5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine and Public Health, University of L'Aquila, Coppito-Delta 6, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy

2 Italian Association of Psoriatic Patients (ADIPSO), Rome, Italy

3 Department of Dermatology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

4 Department of Dermatology, University of L'Aquila, Italy

5 Department of Dermatology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:59  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-59

Published: 21 April 2007

Abstract

Background

Over recent years the public health system has shown increasing interest in patients' views for use as guideline criteria in evaluating the quality of assistance above all for those patients with chronic diseases. Hence the interest in psoriasis, which is a chronic disease frequently associated with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. The aims of our study were to describe clinic characteristics of patients with psoriasis, the quality of the assistance perceived by patients arrived at outpatients clinics and the information received, in order to identify areas in Italy requiring improvement.

Methods

1954 patients, aged between 18 and 85 years, were consecutively enrolled at outpatients clinics across 21 Italian provinces over the period December 2004 – January 2006. A standardized questionnaire was developed in collaboration with an Italian Association of Psoriatic Patients (A.DI.PSO) and tested in a pilot study. The questionnaire was divided into three sections: the first section included social, demographic and individual variables; the second concerned the quality of the assistance perceived by the patients at public dermatologic clinics and the third focused on the need of information requirements of patients with psoriasis. The χ2 test was used to estimate the association between the categorical variables under study. Kruskal-Wallis test was applied to the interval and ordinal variables.

Results

The presence of psoriatic arthritis was reported in 26.0% of patients. Associated chronic diseases included depression (15.4%), hypertension (13.3%), obesity (8.9%) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (7.3%). The study highlighted the need of improvements of health care services at public dermatologic clinics especially in overcoming architectonic barriers and reducing appointment wait-times, particularly in South Italy. However, patients reported a positive relationship with Health System employers due to the confidentiality. This positive impression was confirmed by the observation that dermatologists were considered the best source of information about therapies on psoriasis.

Conclusion

Our study allowed to identify critical aspects which could be tackled through initiatives with the aim of improving these emerged needs.