Interest in hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) has exploded in the last few years. A PubMed search of articles indexed for MEDLINE using the MeSH term hidradenitis suppurativa yielded more than 900 articles on HS since 1947, with a sharp increase in publications over the last few years and 119 articles published in 2015 alone. In addition to publications, we recently saw adalimumab become the first and only US Food and Drug Administration–approved treatment of moderate to severe HS.
With new treatment options and enthusiasm for HS, further attention needs to be paid to the scoring systems or outcome measures that clinicians use to grade HS severity and disease. Utilization of validated outcome measures allows for comparability between treatment effects, which is essential for clinical trials, meta-analyses, and monitoring of treatment response in daily clinical practice. Designing a scoring scale for any dermatologic disease is challenging; however, as we move forward with value-based reimbursement models, we likely will encounter quality reporting guidelines that mandate providers demonstrate the positive impact of treatment. Thus, scoring systems for HS, particularly ones that accurately assess this impact of treatment, are essential. For psoriasis, the physician global assessment (PGA) and psoriasis area and severity index are standard outcome measures of disease severity in clinical trials. The PGA also can be used in a clinical setting to longitudinally track patient treatment outcomes.1 Both the psoriasis area and severity index and PGA were cited as acceptable scoring tools for Medicare’s Physician Quality Reporting System quality metrics reporting (Measure #410: Psoriasis: Clinical Response to Oral Systemic or Biologic Medications). Unfortunately, no such outcome measures consensus currently exists for scoring systems in HS.
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