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Dermatology Online Journal

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Patient satisfaction in dermatology: a qualitative assessment


Patient satisfaction is of growing interest to the medical field. Qualities essential to patient satisfaction with primary care providers have been characterized, but little work has been done to assess factors that affect patient satisfaction in dermatology.  The objective of this study was to determine factors essential to patient satisfaction in dermatology. Qualitative data from an online survey were collected and organized thematically relying on a previously established coding scheme for patient satisfaction comments. Themes studied include the character of the physician, communication, time, care, and qualities of the office staff.   Doctors with good character who communicated effectively and spent sufficient time with patients received high satisfaction. An efficient and friendly office staff also contributed to high satisfaction. Poor patient satisfaction was mainly linked to flaws in physician demeanor, lack of communication, and rushed appointments.  A limitation to the study included potential bias of an online survey sample, although the widespread use of the tool to capture more respondents in dermatology may mitigate this limitation. To achieve high patient satisfaction, it is vital that a physician is cognizant of the profound effects of how his or her character, communication style, time investment, and office staff appear to patients because patients consider these factors in addition to clinical outcomes when evaluating physicians.

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