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Nov 17
Melissa Funk, Senior Ecosystem Partner at UCB
Shaping the Future of Psoriatic Arthritis Care in Rural Settings

At UCB, we continuously look for ways to improve the patient journey, and in immunology, this includes tools to aid earlier diagnosis and treatment. Fifteen to 30 percent of people with psoriasis have undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis.1,2 Delays in diagnosis can have a significant impact on a patient’s daily quality of life and clinical outcomes. And for people with psoriasis, even a six-month delay in diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis may be associated with worse long-term outcomes.2

Delays in diagnosis can be even more evident in rural settings.3,4 The current number of rheumatologists in the U.S. struggle to keep up with patient demand, and rheumatologist shortages are most prominently seen in rural populations.3,4 Inequality in specialized treatment resources can lead to gaps in care, including delays in diagnosis, treatment, and irreversible disease activity.3,4

Given these comorbidities and complexities, screening psoriasis patients for psoriatic arthritis is crucial. UCB is committed to supporting this via clinician education, such as our Wellness4You healthcare provider education program, to bolster the appropriate screening of joint symptoms in psoriasis patients on every visit, as recommended by American Academy of Dermatology and American College of Rheumatology.

At UCB, our teams work with groups who are making innovative strides to address gaps in care and deliver value to patients. 

UCB partnered with one of the largest dermatology practices in Iowa, Radiant Complexions, who applies an adaptive practice model leveraging highly trained nurse practitioners and dermatologists in their rural clinic sites to provide timely care to their psoriasis patients. UCB is helping by sharing clinician and patient education and resources to facilitate the appropriate screening of joint symptoms, such as screening protocols, clinic posters and other resources. 


Radiant Complexions has made it standard to screen all psoriasis patients at each visit utilizing the validated Psoriasis Epidemiology Screening Tool (PEST). As a result, they have seen a significant increase in the identification of psoriatic arthritis patients earlier in their disease journey. As we look to the future, our goal is to continue to work together and look for new ways to expand and improve patients’ care – earlier in their disease journey.

UCB is committed to partnering with the healthcare community to craft solutions that better serve patients in rural America, and bring the highest level of care to all people living with severe immunologic conditions.




  1. Haroon, Muhammad et al. “High prevalence of psoriatic arthritis in patients with severe psoriasis with suboptimal performance of screening questionnaires.” Annals of the rheumatic diseases vol. 72,5 (2013): 736-40. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-201706.
  2. Villani, Axel Patrice et al. “Prevalence of undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis among psoriasis patients: Systematic review and meta-analysis.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology vol. 73,2 (2015): 242-8. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2015.05.001.
  3. Royce TJ, Jones GP, Muralidhar V, et al. US primary care vs specialty care trainee positions and physician incomes: Trends from 2001 to 2019. J Grad Med Educ 2021;13:385-389.
  4. Battafarano DF, Ditmyer M, Bolster MB, et al. 2015 American College of Rheumatology Workforce Study: Supply and Demand Projections of Adult Rheumatology Workforce. 70(4), 617–626. doi.org/10.1002/acr.23518.