Assessing diagnostic skill in dermatology: a comparison between general practitioners and dermatologists

Australas J Dermatol. 2005 Nov;46(4):230-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-0960.2005.00189.x.


This retrospective study was conducted to assess and compare the diagnostic accuracy between referring general practitioners and dermatologists with regard to skin conditions. Six hundred and fifty-six consecutive general practitioner referrals to a private dermatology practice and a dermatology outpatient department were assessed. The concordance rate in diagnoses from a wide spectrum of dermatological diseases was compared between general practitioners and dermatologists. Referring general practitioners agreed with dermatologists' clinical diagnosis and histology (when available) in 42% of cases. The concordance between general practitioners and dermatologists in the setting of non-biopsied cases is 45%. One hundred and fifty-one of 656 (23%) conditions had histological confirmation. Overall, general practitioners agreed with the histological diagnosis in 24% of cases and dermatologists agreed with the histological diagnosis in 77% of cases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dermatology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • New South Wales
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis*