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Dermatology Online Journal

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Common reasons why acne patients call the office


Background: Communication between physicians and patients is essential to providing proper medical care. At times, patients leave visits with insufficiently addressed questions. These questions prompt patients to call the clinic for additional information, which disrupts the flow of care, delays proper treatment, and reduces patient satisfaction.

Purpose: We aim to examine acne patients’ post-visit questions to develop interventions to improve patient education and reduce call backs.

Methods: A retrospective electronic medical record chart review was performed involving Wake Forest Baptist Health Dermatology clinic visits between October 1, 2012 and October 31, 2012. We identified acne patients using clinic visit notes and recorded their telephone calls to the clinic between October 1, 2012 and March 29, 2013.

Results: Of 315 acne patients, 31 (9.8%) called the clinic. Isotretinoin was the subject of 66.7% of the calls, half of which involved questions about potential side effects. Other calls addressed topical medications, acne symptoms, and pharmacy requests.

Limitations: The study involved one center and email and fax correspondence was not captured.

Conclusions: We found gaps in communication sufficient to require patients to call in for support, specifically regarding oral isotretinoin treatment. Interventions to address these questions have the potential to improve quality of care.

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