BACKGROUND: There is little information concerning how much health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) information is elicited in dermatology outpatient consultations.
OBJECTIVES: To observe and record ad hoc HRQoL discussion in inflammatory skin disease consultations, to systematically measure the patient's HRQoL and to measure patient satisfaction with dermatology care.
METHODS: Clinic consultations of patients with inflammatory skin conditions attending a secondary care clinic were observed by a single researcher (CP). Data were collected on the 10 subject areas of the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) and on sleep, burden, frustration and depression. Patients were sent the DLQI and Medical Interview Satisfaction Scale (MISS)-21 questionnaires after the consultation.
RESULTS: In total, 100 consultations were observed (psoriasis n = 50, eczema n = 17, acne n = 13 and others n = 20). In 26% (n = 26), there was no mention of HRQoL issues. In 59% (n = 44), HRQoL discussions were initiated by the clinician. In only 26% (n = 19) of consultations were > or = 3 items on the observer's checklist raised. In all, 57 evaluable DLQI and MISS-21 questionnaires were returned. The mean +/- SD DLQI score was 7.2 +/- 7.0 (n = 18) for patients with whom there was no HRQoL discussion and 10.8 +/- 6.7 (n = 39, P = 0.038) for those with whom HRQoL was discussed. The mean +/- SD MISS-21 score was 108.8 +/- 16.5 (n = 18) for the patients with whom there was no HRQoL discussion and 111.3 +/- 13.6 (n = 39, P = 0.42) for those with whom HRQoL was discussed. The mean +/- SD patient expectation score was 5.5 +/- 1.0 (median 5, range 3-7). There was a positive correlation between the patient expectation and MISS-21 scores (r(s) = 0.815, P < 0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Despite little extent or depth to HRQoL discussion, HRQoL issues were raised in the majority of inflammatory skin disease consultations. The consultations usually met the patients' expectations and most patients were satisfied.
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