Survey reveals somewhat skewed perception of dermatologists

November 6, 2014

Responses to a recent survey indicate that the public’s perception of what dermatologists actually do falls significantly short of reality.

Responses to a recent survey indicate that the public’s perception of what dermatologists actually do falls significantly short of reality.

For example, the public believes dermatologists spend more time performing cosmetic procedures than they actually do. Other responses from the 800 adults surveyed by telephone include the following:

  • 46 percent of respondents said they believe dermatologists spend a majority of their time managing skin cancer;

  • 27 percent believe dermatologists spend a majority of their time performing cosmetic procedures;

  • 63 percent said they believe primary care physicians have a more critical profession than dermatologists;

  • 54 percent believe primary care physicians have a more difficult job than dermatologists; 

  • 92 percent said they believe the former put in longer hours than the latter.

A comparison of dermatologists to cardiologists yielded similar findings. Respondents also say they believe dermatologists earn more than primary care physicians but less than cardiologists or plastic surgeons.

“The study shows that the public may not be fully aware of all the various areas of expertise and services that dermatologists provide, especially in the realm of medical dermatology,” study co-author April Armstrong, M.D., of the University of Colorado Denver, tells Dermatology Times. “Changing the public’s perception to reflect the reality of our range of expertise is an important and worthwhile long-term goal for our field.”

Survey results were published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Reference: Brezinski EA, Harskamp CT, Ledo L, Armstrong AW. Public perception of dermatologists and comparison with other medical specialties: Results from a national survey. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;71(5):875-881. http://www.eblue.org/article/S0190-9622(14)01722-8/abstract

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