Method: We conducted a survey of 380 GPs listed in the Barwon region regarding their usage of dermoscopy, methodology of dermoscopy analysis, and perceived benefits and barriers. This survey was based largely on the Eurodermoscopy questionnaire and received ethics approval from RACGP.
Results: Out of 380 GPs surveyed, 54 returned completed questionnaires. Despite the majority (92.6%) of respondents having access to a dermatoscope, only 74% (n=40) used dermoscopy. 37% (n=20) of total respondents had never received any formal training in dermoscopy. For those using dermoscopy, there was no clear consensus with what particular algorithm was used for dermoscopy, and the option for selecting multiple algorithms was included. Most candidates selected looking for the ugly duckling (n=15), ABCD rule (n=12), pattern analysis (n=11), chaos & clues method (n=9), and 3-point checklist (n=9). Images were not routinely stored by practitioners. Most (87.5%, n=35) agreed that dermoscopy aided in their diagnosis of melanoma in early stage, and 87.5% believed more GPs should be trained in dermoscopy.
Discussion: Primary care physicians are often the first point of contact for patients and need to be equipped with the tools and training necessary to evaluate potentially malignant lesions. This survey highlights multiple discrepancies in dermoscopy usage amongst general practitioners, in terms of how many GPs are using it, what methodology is applied, how images are stored, and how doctors are trained. Further guidelines, training, and implementation of dermoscopy in our clinical practice will aid general practitioners in this field.
Implications for practice: This study demonstrates a need and demand for further education and training for dermoscopy in general practice.