The Dermatologist Will See You Now: How Doctors Are Improving the Patient Visit Experience

Patient satisfaction is an important part of providing quality care. With a few simple changes, patients’ experiences and outcomes could be significantly improved when they visit the office.”

— Abigail Cline, PhD, MD

NEW YORK, NY, USA, November 17, 2020 / — When doctors don their white coats, they take the Hippocratic oath to do right by their patients. Most of the time they are able to do just that, save lives and help people through difficult times (even in the face of a global pandemic). However, sometimes they miss the mark. Patient visits can be complicated by longer than average wait times, miscommunication between call centers and physicians’ offices, and insurance authorizations for medications to name a few barriers. This can lead to a worsening in care and reduced satisfaction with an office visit. These patient satisfaction scores play an important role in monitoring delivery of adequate care, especially in more office-oriented practices, such as Dermatology.

In a recent study published in SKIN, the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine, Abigail Cline PhD, MD, lead author and Dermatologist at Metropolitan Hospital in New York City, and colleagues conducted a study to find ways to improve satisfaction with patient visits. Dr. Cline and colleagues surveyed over 200 patients and asked them various details that might be improved before, during and after their visit.

Patient satisfaction correlated with several factors regardless of age and sex and included shorter wait times, use of gloves during examination, using cameras to obtain clinical photos, and the physician deciding on a treatment plan. Additionally, the authors found several distinctions based on patient’s age including older patients preferring to change into a gown prior to meeting the Dermatologist, receiving written/verbal instructions, and having the full body examination done.

The study painted a more vibrant picture about patient autonomy and vulnerability, especially in a field like Dermatology where a patient may have to bare more skin than they might normally be comfortable baring. By identifying these relatively easy factors to put patients at ease, the overall patient experience and clinical outcomes could be significantly improved.

SKIN: The Journal of Cutaneous Medicine® is a peer-reviewed online medical journal that is the official journal of The National Society for Cutaneous Medicine. The mission of SKIN is to provide an enhanced and accelerated route to disseminate new dermatologic knowledge for all aspects of cutaneous disease.

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(DOI: 10.25251/skin.4.6.6)

Abigail Cline, PhD, MD
Department of Dermatology, Metropolitan Hospital
+1 212-423-6511
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