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    14 tips for more effective acne consults

    The authors of a research letter accepted for publication on April 11, 2016 but not yet published in the British Journal of Dermatology, U.K. researchers report on their survey of patients, carers and health care staff which reveals that patients may have concerns with acne consultations.  

    READ: Solving the ineffective consult

    The authors offer these tips for more effective acne consults:

    • Use simple language.

    • Listen to the patient, paying attention to his or her body language, expressed emotions, and choice of words.

    • Tell the patient what acne is.

    • Explain your rationale for choice of treatment.

    • Tell the patient how the treatment works.

    • Let the patient know that no treatments work instantly and indicate when the patient may expect to see an improvement.

    • Use a concordance approach to prescribing.

    • Make sure the patient has sufficient knowledge to make informed treatment decisions.

    • Give a detailed explanation of how to use the every aspect of the recommended treatment regimen.

    • Explain possible treatment pathways.

    • Explore impact on quality of life. Invite patients to complete a validated acne quality of life measure, for example the Acne-specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (Acne-QoL) or short version of this, the Acne-Q4, while waiting for the consultation and use this to discuss potentially sensitive subjects.

    • Integrate emotional and psychological signals from the patient in much the same way as assessment of presenting symptoms.

    • If quality of life is compromised, take it seriously, and refer for psychological support if required.

    • Maximise the role of the dermatology specialist nurse.

    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton is president of Words Come Alive, based in Boca Raton, Florida.

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