The Role of Inpatient Dermatology Consultations

Alex Sherban, BM  Matthew Keller, MD


Cutis. 2021;108(4):193-196. 

In This Article


Inpatient dermatology has been shown to have profound effects on the care of hospitalized patients. However, dermatology consultations remain an underutilized resource. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate how dermatology affects the hospitalization of inpatients while highlighting the breadth of services provided. This cross-sectional retrospective study included all inpatient dermatology consultations completed at a large tertiary-care facility in an urban setting. It aimed to investigate the reasons for consultation, as well as the effects on diagnosis, management, disposition, and cutaneous condition by time of discharge. This study provides evidence supporting the integration of the dermatologist into the care of hospitalized patients by illuminating lesser-known areas of impact.


Dermatology is an often-underutilized resource in the hospital setting. As the health care landscape has evolved, so has the role of the inpatient dermatologist.[1,2,3] Structural changes in the health system and advances in therapies have shifted dermatology from an admitting service to an almost exclusively outpatient practice. Improved treatment modalities led to decreases in the number of patients requiring admission for chronic dermatoses, and outpatient clinics began offering therapies once limited to hospitals.[1,4] Inpatient dermatology consultations emerged and continue to have profound effects on hospitalized patients regardless of their reason for admission.[1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11]

Inpatient dermatologists supply knowledge in areas primary medical teams lack, and there is evidence that dermatology consultations improve the quality of care while decreasing cost.[2,5,6,7] Establishing correct diagnoses, preventing exposure to unnecessary medications, and reducing hospitalization duration and readmission rates are a few ways dermatology consultations positively impact hospitalized patients.[2,5,6,7,9,10] This study highlights the role of the dermatologist in the care of hospitalized patients at a large academic medical center in an urban setting and reveals how consultation supports the efficiency and efficacy of other services.


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