Dermatology consultations: how long do they take?

Future Hosp J. 2017 Feb;4(1):23-26. doi: 10.7861/futurehosp.4-1-23.


The rising demand for dermatology services calls for more -efficient clinics. However, there is a lack of evidence to guide the allocation of time for dermatological consultations. Our study analysed 607 dermatology consultations led by 23 clinicians. Consultation lengths were found to be dependent on the grade of clinician seen, nature of attendance (new or follow-up) and nature of final diagnosis. The median times taken for all consultations involving general dermatological conditions or suspected skin tumours were 16.5 minutes (IQR 12.8-24.1) and 15.5 minutes (IQR 11.7-20.1), respectively (p=0.001). Consultations with new patients took longer than follow-up cases (p<0.001). Based on our results, new patients presenting with general dermatological conditions should be allocated 25 minutes per consultant-led consultation, while follow-up cases can be allocated 15 minutes per consultation. We recommend similar analyses of consultation lengths in other specialties to inform the development of efficient, specialty-specific clinic models.

Keywords: Clinical times; consultation times; dermatology consultations.