Public perception of dermatologists and comparison with other medical specialties: Results from a national survey

Elizabeth A. Brezinski, Caitlin T. Harskamp, Lynda Ledo, April W. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The public's perception of dermatologists in the United States is unknown. Objective: We sought to determine the US public's perception of how dermatologists spend time professionally and to compare the public's perception of dermatologists with physicians from other medical specialties. Methods: We administered a telephone survey to the US public using the validated random digit dialing method. Results: We made 2353 telephone calls to randomly selected active numbers from 10 US area codes. A total of 800 adults (34%) completed the telephone survey. Overall, 46% of participants perceived that dermatologists spend a majority of their time managing skin cancer. Of respondents, 27% perceived that dermatologists spend a majority of their time performing cosmetic procedures. Compared with dermatologists, primary care physicians were perceived to have a more critical profession by 63% of participants, a more difficult job by 54% of respondents, and work longer hours by 92% of those surveyed. Similar findings were observed when dermatologists were compared with cardiologists. The public perceived dermatologists to earn more than primary care physicians but less than cardiologists or plastic surgeons. Limitations: Potential differences may exist between responders and nonresponders. Conclusions: Educational efforts are necessary to better inform public understanding and perception of dermatologists' expertise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-881
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume71
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cardiology
  • Cosmetic dermatology
  • Dermatologists
  • Dermatology
  • Medical dermatology
  • Perception
  • Plastic surgery
  • Primary care physicians
  • Public opinion
  • Public perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Medicine(all)

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