Cureus. 2023 Aug 15;15(8):e43519. doi: 10.7759/cureus.43519. eCollection 2023 Aug.
BACKGROUND: Dermatologic disease has been shown to have high rates of diagnostic and treatment discordance between dermatologists and non-specialists. Inpatient dermatology consultative services have the potential to improve patient care, but there is a paucity of data evaluating the quantitative effects of such services. This study aimed to evaluate the impact a newly established inpatient dermatology service had on quantitative patient care outcomes.
METHODS: This retrospective cohort study compared quantitative care measures of dermatologic inpatients during the years both pre- and post-implementation of an academic hospital's dermatology consultative service. The primary outcomes included hospitalization duration, readmission rates, and establishment of outpatient dermatologic care.
RESULTS: The study found a 1.04-day reduction in hospital length of stay (p-value = 0.046) after the consultation service establishment. Additionally, there was a significant increase in the rate by which patients sought outpatient dermatology follow-up (6.7% versus 24.4%, p-value <0.001). No significant change in the all-cause readmission rate was identified.
CONCLUSION: The reduction of hospitalization duration supports inpatient dermatology services as a viable means to provide improved patient care and reduce health systems costs. Hospitals that do not have a consulting service for cutaneous conditions provided by a dermatology specialist should strongly consider establishing such a department.