Dermatological emergencies: evolution from 2008 to 2014 and perspectives

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Abstract

Background

Our dermatological department includes a dermatological emergency unit (DEU) whose activity has grown in recent years.

Objectives

An audit to characterize the activity of our DEU and its evolution in terms of medical demographics of the area.

Methods

We collected the following data from administrative services: number of patients consulting each year in the DEU and in the general emergency unit (GEU) of our hospital between 2008 and 2014; daily and seasonal activity of the DEU; occurrence of a second event in the department and proportion of patients from the DEU who were hospitalized and why. From the medical charts of a random sample of patients consulting in the first 15 days of January and August 2014, we studied the epidemiological profile, time to consultation and diagnoses. Data related to medical demographics (number of general practitioners and dermatologists) between 2007 and 2014 and projections were obtained.

Results

The activity in the DEU increased by 67% between 2008 and 2014 but remained stable in the GEU over the same period. The activity was higher on Mondays and in the summer (+30%). More than 15% of the patients were seen a second time in outpatient consultation; 1.2% were hospitalized. Infectious dermatosis was the main reason for consultation; seasonal-disease consultations were more frequent in the summer. Less than 40% of patients consulted in the first week after disease onset. Medical demographics continually decreased since 2007 in Paris and suburbs and will continue to decrease in the next years.

Conclusion

The increasing activity of our DEU parallels the decrease in medical demographics in Paris. The proportion of patients hospitalized was low, in part due to specific healthcare networks implemented for some life-threatening dermatoses independent of the DEU. A better coordination between hospital and private practitioners for managing dermatologic emergencies, taking into account the decrease in medical demographics, is warranted.

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