Bringing Clinical Research to Dermatological Practices

Skin conditions are so common that they affect one in four Americans and 1.9 billion people worldwide. Yet, they’re rarely talked about, perhaps because some people regard dermatological issues as being less severe than other types of diseases.

The skin — unbeknownst to many outside the medical community — is the largest organ system in the body, accounting for about 16 percent of our total body weight and covering a surface area of 22 square feet. And, as the largest organ system, it has a huge potential to affect a patient’s quality of life.

Those suffering from common skin conditions like psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), rosacea or vitiligo can feel less comfortable in social settings and might experience less enjoyment in other aspects of life. Yet, recent innovations in dermatology have already changed some people’s lives for the better, and as research continues into the biological links between skin conditions and inflammatory diseases elsewhere in the body, there are many avenues where meaningful advances are being made to improve various skin conditions.

Advancing Research at the Point-of-Care through a Frictionless Set-Up

At ObjectiveHealth, we’ve made dermatology an area of emphasis in our clinical research studies. From a financial perspective, skin diseases alone account for $75 billion in annual impact on the U.S. health care system in terms of medical procedures, preventative care, and prescription and non-prescription drug costs. But clinical research holds the key for new treatments and therapies that could help lower costs for patients and improve the efficacy and quality of care.

We designed our model of clinical research around the needs of doctors, who often recognize the benefits of offering research as a care option, but may have concerns about assuming extra responsibilities in their already busy practices. For dermatologists interested in work-life balance, maintaining lifestyle is of particular importance.

The unique benefits of our integrated model of clinical research are highlighted in this particular specialty area. We do it in a frictionless way that merges with the fast-paced workflow of a typical dermatological practice. We don’t pull doctors away from their responsibilities; instead, we offer a turnkey solution in which we manage everything related to research — hiring and training research team members, outfitting the research space with equipment and closely coordinating with physicians as we identify potential patients for studies. Doctors are able to maintain their focus on patient care while having a fully functioning research arm located in the footprint of their practice.

Integrating an Effective and Proven Dermatology Clinical Research Model

We’re currently partnered with several dermatology practices across the country. Here in Nashville, we operate a dermatology clinical research center-of-excellence, Cumberland Skin Center for Clinical Research, which conducts clinical trials related to acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea and other complex dermatologic conditions.

Another of our partners, QualDerm Partners, is an expansive network of integrated dermatology practices that includes more than 90 board-certified dermatologists. At its heart is a sophisticated parent company that understands the importance of clinical research and how it can differentiate practices in the communities they serve. Through our partnership, QualDerm will be advancing dermatology research in parallel with their premier specialized care for patients with dermatological disorders including skin cancer, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne and alopecia.

Examining the Importance of Dermatology Research

People want to look good and feel good about their skin, but a lot of the most effective treatments, unfortunately, are very costly and not affordable for many patients. Clinical research offers the opportunity for doctors and patients to be on the cutting edge, gaining access to new treatments that might not be otherwise available in the course of their care.

Not only does this ancillary service line attract patients, but research can also help elevate the profile of practices within the communities they serve. In turn, this prominence can attract new physicians and other staff who want to be associated with the high quality of the practice.

If you’re a dermatologist and are interested in discussing how clinical research might be a fit for your practice, we’d be happy to speak with you about our research partnership opportunity. Contact us at and we’ll be in touch.