Nationwide project: a BCC patient letter for a well-informed discharge

Dermatologie, Dermatology, Huisarts, Primary care
Dermatologie, Dermatology, Huisarts, Primary care
A previous study* showed that implementing a personalized letter for patients that are treated for a basal cell carcinoma (BCC) reduces the number of unnecessary follow-ups at the dermatologist. The study was performed in nine hospitals, but many other hospitals in the Netherlands can benefit from this project if they introduce this letter as well. Therefor we are taking the next step to spread awareness and implement the letter throughout the Netherlands.
How does the letter work?

The letter informs patients about their treatment, their very small risk of a recurrence, and instructs the patient on how to protect and self-examine their skin. It reassures the patient and reduces their need for a follow-up appointment at the dermatologist, as well as it supports the dermatologist with informing the patient in a timely manner and therefore a quicker discharge.

Key element of the letter is its automatic personalization. The letter works together with the electronic patient record to automatically load already registered information of an individual patient. Information such as the treatment, location and type of BCC, and pathology result, are loaded into the letter automatically. In addition, the patients personal risk of a recurrence is calculated, based on the patient’s characteristics, and inserted into the letter.

Our approach

To spread the use of this letter, we aimed to make the implementation and use of the letter as easy as possible. Therefore, we took the following steps:

  • We created a toolkit with the steps that are necessary for implementing the letter. We made sure that the toolkit is short and practical. It consists of three steps: 1) discuss the letter with colleagues and edit to your preferences; 2) build the letter in the electronic patient system; and 3) start using the letter.
  • We created instructions to build the letter in Epic and HiX, the two most used electronic patient record systems in the Netherlands.
  • We bring the dermatologists and electronic patient record builders together in a network, so that they are able to exchange experiences and can learn from each other.
  • The national society of dermatologists and the Dutch skin cancer foundation provided feedback on the letter, approved it, and endorsed its use. They helped to spread awareness amongst dermatologists on this letter and the opportunity to join our network.

Dermatologists from 20 Dutch hospitals have expressed their interest in implementing the letter and joined the network. They are in various stages of the implementation process as they follow the steps in their own pace. New dermatologists are welcome to join, as we will continue to spread the use of this letter throughout the Netherlands.

Learn more

If you are interested or have questions, please contact Eva Verkerk or Tijn Kool.