How to Train to Discharge a Dermatology Outpatient: A Review

A Harun, Andrew Y Finlay, M Sam Salek, Vincent Piguet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND/AIMS: The decision to discharge is a critical and common outpatient consultation event. However, little guidance exists over how discharge decision-making can be taught. We aimed to provide educational recommendations concerning outpatient discharge decision-making.

METHODS: Recommendations were drawn from prior interviews with 40 consultant dermatologists and 56 dermatology outpatients, and from the "traffic light" design discharge information checklist, developed using the Delphi technique.

RESULTS: The key strategies to follow to appropriately manage the outpatient discharge process are: to warn patients in advance, to understand patients' agendas, to allow extra time for the discharge process, to prepare patients to self-manage, to provide a "safety net" and provide the GP with a clear management plan. Aspects to be considered include patient mobility, presence of carer, type of employment, diagnostic certainty, and use of the checklist or guidelines. Key training aspects include teaching structured thought processes when discharging, discharging according to context, developing communication and negotiation skills, avoiding decision biases and encouraging good interprofessional collaboration. Training should include the consideration of the possibility of discharge at each consultation. Novel training strategies have been developed on how to appropriately manage the outpatient discharge process, including involving and informing patients. These strategies focus on safe decision-making, being patient-centred and organizing an efficient health care service framework.

CONCLUSION: Structured outpatient discharge training for dermatologists is now possible, based on information from detailed doctor- and patient-based qualitative studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-267
Number of pages8
JournalDermatology in Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2017


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