Public Health and Primary CareOriginal Article

Dermascope Use by Osteopathic Primary Care Physicians

Jeffrey B. Morris, OMS III; Sarah V. Alfonso, BA; Nilda Hernandez, AA; and M. Isabel Fernández, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: October 10, 2016

Accepted: October 28, 2016

Published: March 1, 2017

J Osteopath Med; 117(3): 158-164

Context: Osteopathic physicians (ie, DOs) in primary care may play a critical role in the early detection of skin cancer. Dermoscopy improves diagnostic accuracy; however, its use among primary care DOs remains understudied.

Objectives: To document dermascope use among DOs in primary care, to examine physician and practice characteristics associated with having used and having heard of a dermascope, and to examine the barriers to dermascope use.

Methods: Osteopathic physicians were recruited to complete an anonymous survey assessing demographic factors, physician and practice characteristics, confidence in differentiating skin lesions, knowledge and dermascope use, and barriers to dermascope use. Bivariate analyses were conducted, and the significant factors were entered into 2 separate logistic regressions.

Results: A total of 768 participants were included in the study. Four hundred ten (54%) had heard of a dermascope, and 123 (15%) had used one. The statistically significant multivariate predictors for having used a dermascope (model 1) were graduating from medical school after 1989 and having greater confidence in differentiating skin lesions (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.66-2.79). Those who graduated after 2009 were 9.5 times more likely and those graduating between 2000 and 2009 were 4.3 times more likely to have used a dermascope than those graduating before 1990 (95% CI, 4.29-20.90 and 95% CI, 2.04-9.23, respectively). Ever having heard of a dermascope (model 2) was associated with being female (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.02-1.87); practicing in a group (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.05-2.36), academic (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.26-3.86), or community center (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.20-4.00); and having greater confidence in differentiating skin lesions (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.15-1.55). Both models were statistically significant and correctly classified 605 (84.1%) (model 1) and 444 (58.4%) participants (model 2).

Conclusions: Dermascope use could help primary care DOs improve their diagnostic accuracy for skin cancer and reduce unnecessary referrals to specialists. Efforts to disseminate knowledge about the benefits of using a dermascope to primary care DOs are needed.

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