Patch testing is the gold standard diagnostic tool for patients suffering from contact dermatitis. It effectively identifies underlying allergens causing the disease—thus providing an early diagnosis—and it provides the basis for an effective allergy avoidance strategy. Why, then, are opportunities for patch test training so limited?
Isn’t Patch Test Training a Requirement in Dermatology?
No! The findings from a survey undertaken at the 112 dermatology residencies accredited by the American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) reveal a surprising gap not only in patch test training, but in the diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD):
- The number of hours allotted to ACD education remained low with no change from 2002 to 2010
- The number of patch test-specific clinics showed no increase during the same period
- Only 22% of program directors and 27% of chief residents reported having a patch test rotation
Moreover, although performing and interpreting the results of diagnostic tests, including patch testing, are listed as ACGME required competencies in dermatology, there are no procedures to account for fulfilling these competencies. There is:
- no mandated patch testing supervision by faculty
- no mandated patch test resources/patient pool
- no specifically mandated patch testing education
In fact, the description of core knowledge and skills in dermatology doesn’t even include the diagnosis of ACD and other related diseases. (Note that these skills are requirements in preventive medicine, with patch testing listed under “additional knowledge and skills”!)
How Does the Patch Test Training Gap Impact Patients?
The limited opportunity for patch test training during and after formal education works against the early diagnosis of contact dermatitis. And, without proper training, difficulties in interpretation of results can lead to diagnostic mistakes and delays. As a result, patients may not find relief from their symptoms and the quality-of-life improvements they deserve.
Exclusive Patch Test Training Opportunities
We want you to have the easiest access to educational opportunities that will take your patch testing to the next level.
That’s why we are inviting you to the 2020 Hands-on Patch Test Training presented by the Contact Dermatitis Institute! This year, the event is being held at The Camby Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, January 17 – 18, 2020.
The two-day training is the premier event for those looking to learn about eczema, allergic contact dermatitis, and patch testing. World-renowned opinion leaders will teach interactive, hands-on sessions that include panel loading, patch test application, and reaction reading with live patients.
Can’t attend in January? Learn more about other 4-hour training opportunities here.
Nelson J, Mowas C, Sun H. Allergic contact dermatitis and patch-testing education in US dermatology residencies in 2010. Dermatitis 2012;23(2):56-60
Schleichert RA, Hostetler SG, Zirwas MJ. Patch testing practices of American Contact Dermatitis Society members. Dermatitis 2010;21(2):98-101
ACGME Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Dermatology. Available here.