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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dermatology Online Journal

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A review of non-pharmacologic approaches to enhance the patient experience in dermatologic surgery

  • Author(s): Gamboa, Jakob;
  • Cameron, Michael C;
  • Fathi, Ramin;
  • Alkousakis, Theodore
  • et al.

Efforts to increase patient comfort by minimizing pain and anxiety have been shown to improve clinical outcomes, reduce pain thresholds, decrease analgesic requirements and complication risk, strengthen the physician-patient relationship, and increase overall patient satisfaction. Patients also have a strong preference for patient-centered communication and educational discussion with physicians. In recent years, the increasing emphasis on patient experience scores as a metric for quality care has had significant implications for physician practice and has reinforced attempts to provide more patient-centered care. Though different pharmacologic agents and techniques have been extensively reviewed in the dermatologic literature, there have been few studies of non-pharmacologic strategies for improving patient-centered care. This evidence-based review describes alternative techniques that have been suggested for use in dermatologic surgery. Mechanoanesthesia, cold therapy, verbal and audiovisual distraction, music, optimal needle insertion methods, hypnosis and guided-imagery, perioperative communication, and educational strategies have been reported to improve the patient experience in dermatologic surgery. These interventions are often cost-effective and easy to implement, avoid medication side effects, and serve as adjunct approaches to enhance patient comfort. This review examines the corresponding evidence for these nonpharmacologic strategies to provide a clinical resource for the dermatologic surgeon seeking to optimize the patient experience.

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