As SDPA summer sessions have concluded, Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA, MPH, delves into what lies ahead in the dermatology industry—including the importance of collaboration between physicians and PAs.
As the 2023 Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA) Conference in Boston, Massachusetts has concluded, Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA, MPH, closed sessions with a look at the future of the dermatology field and collaboration between physicians and PAs.
Mostaghimi, an assistant professor of dermatology, director of the Dermatology Inpatient Service, and co-director of the complex medical dermatology fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, spoke with Dermatology Times® to discuss what lies ahead in dermatology.
"We owe grace, we owe kindness, we owe looking at each other as colleagues and understanding that when it comes to physicians, when it comes to PAs, it should truly be an alliance, and it's not a 0 sum game," Mostaghimi said. "The better we work together, the better we'll do not only as individuals but as a community and for our patients."
Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA, MPH: To talk about the future dermatology is such a big topic. The world is changing around us, and it's changing both on an area such as reimbursement and the workforce, which are things that are evolving over time, but also the introduction of new medications, new types of medications, and artificial intelligence, both as a way to change our daily practice with our patients, but also to help us in the diagnosis and prognosis of our patients.
So we're being disrupted on multiple different sides. Disruption, when we think about that, often, we think about the negative things that can happen. And I do think that there will be some rocky moments for us but simply put, the way we do things or have done things needs to change.
The most important message is that those in the dermatology community are at the forefront of the change, that they understand the changes that are coming, they advocate for themselves, they advocate for their patients, and make sure that as new technologies and ideas are implemented, that they're done with the best interest of our patients in mind. If we don't pay attention to it, if we don't do it correctly, there's a lot of business motivations, a lot of financial motivations, that will come in and may pervert the structure of the future of dermatology such that it doesn't work for those providing the care or for the patients, or [an] even worse situation, we can replicate the same mistakes we've made in the past and carry them over into the future.
My hope is that although there will be disruption, I have an optimistic view that if we're at the forefront and managing it that over time, what will happen is that we will bring the field forward so that we're able to take better care for our patients get paid appropriately for what we do, leave the profession intact for future generations, and not have technologies like AI remove the joy from our profession or replace us, but make it so that a lot of the rote things that we don't like are automated and eliminated. And it helps us be better diagnosticians, better clinicians, and to really do what we went into this profession to do, which is to connect with patients, be strong clinicians, be advocates for them, and really get to know each person as an individual and guide them towards care.
I've loved being a part of this conference. I love giving these talks, and I've gone to many awesome sessions over the last few days. And it's been really exciting to see the level of engagement, the quality of the questions, coming from the PA community.
My final talk at a conference, which is talks about what we owe each other, is really an adjunct lectur to the future of dermatology talk in the sense that the world is changing around us. What do we as people who are interested in the care of patients with dermatologic conditions? How do we ensure that we maintain civility, maintain support, work well with each other, and unite in order to make sure that 10, 15, 20 years from now, some of the issues that we're facing: burnout, insurance coverage issues, reimbursement issues, prior authorization, that we unite and fight against those instead of fighting against each other? As resources become more constrained, and lives become more challenging?
So the summary of what we owe to each other: We owe grace, we owe kindness, we owe looking at each other as colleagues and understanding that when it comes to physicians, when it comes to PAs, it should truly be an alliance, and it's not a 0 sum game. The better we work together, the better we'll do not only as individuals but as a community and for our patients.
[Transcript edited for clarity]