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August 1994

Dermatologic Consultations in the Hospital Setting

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery (Drs Falanga, Schachner, Rae, Ceballos, Gonzalez, and Liang) and the Office of Biomedical Computing (Mr Banks), University of Miami (Fla) School of Medicine.

Arch Dermatol. 1994;130(8):1022-1025. doi:10.1001/archderm.1994.01690080088013

Background and Design:  Dermatologic practice occurs mainly in the outpatient setting. The reasons for, frequency, and impact of inpatient dermatologic consultation are largely unstudied. In this report, we prospectively studied dermatologic consultation in the major teaching hospital complex of a medical school. Over a period of 8 months, we prospectively recorded the demographics of the patients for whom consultation was requested, the provisional dermatologic diagnosis of the referring service, the final diagnosis of the dermatologic service, and the tests necessary to arrive at a final diagnosis.

Results:  During a period of slightly over 8 months, dermatologic consultation was requested and delivered to 591 patients who were either hospitalized or being evaluated in the emergency department or other urgent care settings. The services requesting consulta- tion most frequently were medicine (39%), pediatrics (14%), surgery (12%), psychiatry (6%), and neurology (3%). In 51% of consultations, the patients were younger than 45 years of age. Diagnostic tests, including Tzanck smear and potassium hydroxide preparation, confirmed the clinical diagnosis in up to 50% of cases. Dermatologic consultation changed dermatologic diagnosis and treatment in more than 60% of the patients. Generally, the dermatologic diagnoses most frequently missed by the referring service were common conditions with established treatment.

Conclusions:  Dermatologic consultation in the hospital setting improves dermatologic diagnosis and has an impact on treatment.(Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:1022-1025)

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