Direct and indirect patient costs of dermatology clinic visits and their impact on access to care and provider preference

Cutis. 2017 Dec;100(6):405-410.


The direct and indirect costs of dermatology clinic visits are infrequently quantified. Indirect costs, such as the time spent traveling to and from appointments and the value of lost earnings from time away from work, are substantial costs that often are not included in economic analyses but may pose barriers to receiving care. Due to the national shortage of dermatologists, patients may have to wait longer for appointments or travel further to see dermatologists outside of their local community, resulting in high time and travel costs for patients. Patients' lost time and earnings comprise the opportunity cost of obtaining care. A monetary value for this opportunity cost can be calculated by multiplying a patient's hourly wage by the number of hours that the patient dedicated to attending the dermatology appointment. Using a single institution survey, this study quantified the direct and indirect patient costs, including opportunity costs and time burden, associated with dermatology clinic visits to better appreciate the impact of these factors on health care access and dermatologic provider preference.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care / economics*
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Dermatologists / supply & distribution
  • Dermatology / economics*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Preference
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors