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An evidence-based checklist for melanoma patient triage

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2, 69, pages e45 - e46

Clinical challenge

Melanoma is the leading cause of skin cancer deaths, and consistent and appropriate management is critical. Using published melanoma management guidelines, a checklist was created to ensure that all of the proper steps are taken in each patient with a new melanoma diagnosis ( Fig 1 ). The checklist is meant to improve patient education and follow-up compliance, communication between physicians, and communication with their patients.


Fig 1 Electronic checklists can be designed to allow dropdown boxes with pre-existing text to be selected, or, like this version, checklists can be filled out manually.


High patient volumes and documentation issues in the medical environment can cause clinicians to skip steps or miss details. By improving communication between the dermatologist, patients, and other clinicians, the hope is that patient outcomes will improve. Checklists can also help improve efficiency in an outpatient setting by decreasing the reliance on memory to carry out important tasks and steps in the communication and management process. Our ultimate goal is to improve patient outcomes through effective education and enhanced compliance.


  • Bichakjian et al., 2011 C.K. Bichakjian, A.C. Halpern, T.M. Johnson, A.F. Hood, J.M. Grichnik, S.M. Swetter, et al. Guidelines of care for management of primary cutaneous melanoma. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011;65:1032-1047 Crossref
  • Gawande, 2009 A. Gawande. The checklist manifesto: how to get things right. (Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2009)


a Dermatology Section, Department of Internal Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, Ohio

b Department of Dermatology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio

Reprint requests: Eliot N. Mostow, MD, MPH, 566 White Pond Dr, Ste E, Akron, OH 44320.

Funding sources: None.

Conflicts of interest: None declared.