John Kirkwood on Training Physicians on Skin Examinations

December 3, 2015
John Kirkwood, MD

John Kirkwood, MD, Usher professor, Medicine, Dermatology and Translational Science, co-director, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program, University of Pittsburgh, discusses training physicians on skin examinations for detecting melanoma. 

John Kirkwood, MD, Usher professor, Medicine, Dermatology and Translational Science, co-director, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program, University of Pittsburgh, discusses training physicians on skin examinations for detecting melanoma. 

Through the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan, Kirkwood developed an Internet-based training module for primary care physicians in large practices. The program educates physicians on how to perform exams and tracks patients using electronic medical records. 

Kirkwood says the number of cases that melanoma was detected in patients increased significantly after physicians were trained. He says he plans to expand the program to eventually determine mortality based on thickness or firmness.

Kirkwood adds that there is currently no recommendation by the US Preventive Services Task Force to do skin examinations, but he hopes that the training modules will encourage more physicians to receive training.