We at EUROPSO are delighted to be partnering with UCB Pharma to challenge the status quo in psoriasis care through the European-wide ‘Epicensus’ programme. This programme aims to reach agreement (consensus) on important issues that limit the standard of care for psoriasis – and drive positive change – allowing you to live your life to the fullest.
Outcomes from the consensus process were published recently in the medical journal Dermatology and Therapy[i]. Jan Koren (President of EUROPSO) represents our psoriasis community as the lead author, ensuring that your views are at the heart of the programme.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease caused by a dysfunctional immune system, leading to an overgrowth of skin cells. This can cause visible skin irritation such as raised lesions (plaques) and scales, resulting in itching, burning, and stinging sensations[ii]. Importantly, psoriasis presents both physical and psychological challenges for patients, which can lead to isolation and depression.
Despite advances in the management of psoriasis, there is still room for improving patient care. However, for meaningful improvements to be identified and made reality, it is essential to recognise the views of everyone involved. This multiple stakeholder approach is unique to Epicensus.
What is the Epicensus programme?
The Epicensus programme brings together three important groups of people (stakeholders): dermatologists, payors, and patient representatives (such as EUROPSO), with a focus on improving the standard of care.
How is the Epicensus programme carried out?
First, a questionnaire was sent out to the stakeholder groups to identify current problems in the standard of care for psoriasis. Following this, eight key themes for change were recognised:
- Improve healthcare systems to better support multidisciplinary team working and digital services
- Optimise real-world data generation and use
- Improve patient access
- Elevate quality-of-life measures as the most important outcomes
- Involve patients in people-centred and personalised approaches to care
- Improve the relevance and reach of guidelines
- Multistakeholder engagement
Next, a panel of experts representing the different stakeholder groups anonymously took part in a consensus process (Delphi) to reach agreement on statements describing the current problems in psoriasis care, each related to the key themes.
Interestingly, several problems that were revealed were similar to some identified over a decade ago. This highlights that simply recognising what needs to change is not enough to bring about improvements: action must be taken.
Therefore, the panel of experts then met to produce specific ‘Calls to Action’ – practical steps that, if put into practice, should contribute to an improvement in the standard of care for people living with psoriasis.
Raising awareness of psoriasis and Epicensus programme
The outcomes of Epicensus were published in Dermatology and Therapy in December 2022, co-authored by the expert panel that participated in the programme[i].
This paper opens a channel of communication to stakeholders who would not usually work together, to address problems in psoriasis care. Additionally, it helps identify where patients would benefit most from an elevation to the standard of care. It proposes a clear call-to-action framework, which increases the likelihood of real and beneficial change.
The call now goes out to you, the psoriasis community, to help bring about practical improvements in care for patients across Europe.
Read the full paper here*[i] and ask yourself what you can do to help turn the calls to action into a better reality for people living with psoriasis.
*Featuring a plain language summary and visual representations to enhance accessibility and educational value – access these digital features here.
- Koren J, Lambert JLW, Thomsen SF, et al. Evaluating the Standard of Care for Patients with Psoriasis: ‘Calls to Action’ from Epicensus, a Multistakeholder Pan-European Initiative. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2023;13:245–268
- National Psoriasis Foundation. About psoriasis. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/. Accessed: April 2023.