The Hand Eczema Core Outcome Set (HECOS) Initiative

Dear Patient,

Millions of people worldwide suffer from hand eczema. Researchers therefore investigate how to ease the burden of this condition, but they need the assistance of patients to make sure that their findings are indeed helpful. Therefore, the international Hand Eczema Core Outcome Set (HECOS)initiative aims to develop a core outcome set that should be used in hand eczema trials.

What is a core outcome set and why do we need it?

While medical knowledge about the prevention and therapy of hand eczema continues to grow, it faces a big obstacle: Study results are often not fully comparable. As an example, imagine you want to know how an ointment works in reducing hand eczema. There are three trials investigating the effects of the ointment, but each of them measures different effects of the ointment leading to different results. How can we make sense of these findings?

Hand Eczema Core Outcome Set

In the end, we cannot be certain about the efficacy of the ointment because the trials are too different from each other. To overcome this problem, we need a standardized set of outcomes (e.g. skin condition, symptoms such as pain or itching, quality of life) that should be measured in every hand eczema trial. Such a standard is called a core outcome set. Beyond the core outcomes, researchers are free to measure further outcomes that are relevant for their research questions. If you have a deeper interest in the scientific methods of HECOS, you will find more information at

How can I participate?

We need adult patients with hand eczema or caregivers of patients with hand eczema who help us decide which outcomes are important enough to be part of the standard. You are invited to participate in an online consensus survey (HECOS-Delphi) that consists of three rounds in the beginning and up to four additional rounds. The survey questions will be about outcomes used in hand eczema trials and your personal rating of their importance. The goal of this procedure is that all participants finally reach an agreement about the most relevant outcomes. Please be aware that the survey is in English.

If you are interested in participation in the survey please send an email until April 25th 2021 to Dr Richard Brans, MD, Department of Dermatology, Health Theory and Environmental Medicine, University of Osnabrück, Germany ( who is conducting this survey and will share with you more information and the link to participate.

Your contribution to enhance hand eczema research is highly appreciated.

It is not the policy of the Eczema Association of Australasia Inc to recommend or endorse any product or treatment.
It is part of the role of the Association to provide information on a wide range of products and treatments to keep those involved with eczema as fully informed as possible as to all options available. For medical advice, consult your health professional.