Patients prefer notification of skin biopsy results by phone

1. In choosing a preferred modality for skin biopsy result notification, patients reported promptness of notification to be the most important consideration.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Study Rundown: With improvements in technology, there are new options for notification of skin biopsy results that now range from traditional in-person notification during a patient-visit to notification through online portal systems. Authors of this study compared patient preferences for notification of biopsy results to current physician practices. They found that patients preferred receiving these results by speaking over the phone with their doctor rather than traditional face-to-face visits, due to the immediacy of notification with the former method. Physicians shared this preference. Younger and educated patients felt most favorably towards the online portal. While the study was strengthened by the multi-center design, its generalizability was limited by the small sample size and its focus on tertiary academic medical centers.

Click to read the study in JAMA Dermatology 

Relevant Reading: Communicating Biopsy Results to Patients in a New Technological Era

In-Depth [survey]: Three hundred and one patients and 47 physicians at three large academic tertiary medical centers completed the surveys. The vast majority of participants had completed undergraduate or post-graduate education, and 88.6% had a previous history of melanoma. Most patients (67.1%) preferred to receive skin biopsy results by phone, and only 19.5% of patients preferred being notified during an in-office visit. Most patients retained their preferences irrespective of the biopsy result, although 40.5% preferred a different modality for notification if the tumor was malignant. The majority of patients reported choosing their modality preference based on immediacy of reporting. Only 7.8% reported preference for a method that allowed asking the physician questions. Regarding reporting of benign results, 31.2% of physicians preferred speaking to the patient by phone, whereas 32.1% of patients preferred receiving the result by voicemail.

Image: PD

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