Study: Why Do Patients Visit a Dermatologist?

A recent study examined the main reasons why patients in the United States seek care from dermatologists.

Many patients visit dermatology offices, but investigators in this Dermatology and Therapy study commented that “while the diagnoses made at visits to the dermatologist are well characterized, the reasons patients visit the dermatologists are not well described.” They theorized that a better understanding of why patients go to dermatologists may help identify unmet needs anddevelop outreach programs to improve patients' access to care.

To try to understand this, the study used the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) between the years 2007 and 2018—which were the most recent years available—to characterize the most common reasons patients visit the dermatologist. In the NAMCS research,64,000 records were identified and there were an estimated 1.55 billion visits to a dermatologist in the United States during the study period.

The most common reasons for visits overall were:

  • Skin examination (7.8%);
  • skin lesion (7.5%); and
  • discoloration/abnormal pigmentation (7.3%).

For pediatric patients 17 years or younger, the most common reasons for visits were acne (28%), warts (7.7%), and skin rash (6.4%). For patients 19-65 years and 66 years and older, skin examinations (7.7%) and skin lesions (10%) were the most common reasons for visits to dermatologists, respectively, according to the article.

“By identifying the most common reasons for visits to the dermatologist, we can improve our understanding of a patient's needs and appropriate health outreach resources to improve patients' access to care,” the study authors concluded.

Reference:

Peck GM, Roberson FA, Feldman SR. Why do patients in the United States seek care from dermatologists? Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). Published online March 14, 2022. doi:10.1007/s13555-022-00706-0