Access to the Health Care System in Patients with Chronic Skin Disease
DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2015.0180-0186german translation / full article
Background: Skin diseases are a common reason for consulting family practitioners (FPs). The aim of this paper was to investigate the pathways of people with chronic skin diseases into the health care system.
Methods: Interviews (23–38min) with 16 patients using a semi-structured guideline were conducted. Patients were identified by their respective FP. Adult patients suffering from a chronic skin disease were included. Interviews were taped and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative analysis was conducted by two independent raters. In addition a questionnaire consisting of seven items was distributed in the waiting rooms of three FP practices.
Results: Lay information plays an important role in the judgment of newly detected skin conditions. Disease related suffering and visible skin lesions act as a trigger to contact a physician. Hereby the majority of patients would first contact their respective FP and not a dermatologist.
Conclusions: For patients with chronic skin disease the FP is the first contact point within the official health care system. We would welcome further research about management of skin diseases in primary care.