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Derms and Conditions Podcast Episode 82:

"Real World" Dr James Song: Making Day-to-Day Clinical Decisions Efficiently and Effectively

Featuring James Song, MD, FAAD | Release Date: June 20, 2024

In this episode of Derms and Conditions, host James Q Del Rosso, DO, and James Song, MD, FAAD, co-chief medical officer and director of clinical research at Frontier Dermatology in Mill Creek, WA, explore the complexities of clinical decision-making in dermatology. Dr Song shares his insights on maintaining efficiency in a busy private practice, particularly when dealing with challenging medication approvals. 

They begin by highlighting the importance of setting patient expectations early and communicating that initial treatment plans are not binding and can be adjusted based on patient feedback and treatment efficacy.  

They explore the challenges of getting systemic treatments approved for conditions affecting areas like the scalp, hands, feet, or nails, which may not respond well to topicals but often require step therapy before systemic agents are approved. 

Sharing strategies for streamlining the approval and appeals process, Dr Song explains the value of referencing expert panel guidance to support treatment plans and how using prepopulated templates from organizations like the HS Foundation can streamline approvals and strengthen appeals for off-label usage of drugs like infliximab. 

Both doctors stress the importance of thorough documentation, highlighting the need for effective note-taking that includes the key phrases payers look for to reduce denial rates. Dr Song notes the significance of understanding the requirements of major payers and maintaining a log of these requirements to stay current. 

The episode also covers the concept of bridge programs, which, while beneficial on paper, can be labor-intensive to maintain. Dr Song advises using them judiciously, opting for reasonable alternatives when possible, so long as it does not compromise patient care.

Tune in to the full episode for a detailed look at the ins and outs of clinical decision-making, medication approval, and the importance of clear communication and conscientious documentation in dermatologic practice.


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