BACKGROUND: Understanding patients' expectations with regard to medical care is critical as it guarantees an efficient therapeutic process. Our aim was to determine outpatients' expectations concerning clinical encounters in a dermatology clinic and to study how these matched the opinions of dermatologists regarding them.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Consecutive outpatients consulting in five dermatology centres in the Paris suburbs between February 2013 and March 2013 were prospectively included. For this pilot cross-sectional study, we used two standardized forms to collect data from patients and dermatologists. Patients' answers were compared to those of their dermatologist, and the degree of matching was calculated to assess the ability of dermatologists to accurately identify their patients' expectations.
RESULTS: Two hundred and sixty-five patients were included, with a median age of 41 years (interquartile range: 25; 62), of whom 166 were women (65.4%). Patient's principal expectations concerned diagnosis (51.7%) and medication (40.8%), with 32.1% of patients requiring reassurance. The rates of matching between patients' and dermatologists' answers ranged from 33.3% to 65.7% according to the type of expectations. The highest rate concerned expectation with regard to medications, being only 52.6% and 58.8%, respectively for expectations regarding diagnosis and the need for reassurance.
CONCLUSION: This study highlights the need for improved identification of outpatient expectations in dermatology consultations.