Patient Preferences for the Notification of Skin Biopsy Results: A Retrospective Review

Document Type: Brief Report


1 Alan Lyell Centre for Dermatology, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

2 Alan Lyell Centre for Dermatology, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, United Kingdom


Introduction: Skin cancer screening clinics constitute a major part of general dermatologists’ workload. Patient preferences for the communication of histological results following skin biopsy have not been properly explored in the literature. Primary care physicians locally report their increased workload with the patients who seek these results directly. The present study aimed to ascertain the preferences for the notification of skin biopsy results among the patients referring to our department and explore this process from their perspective.
Materials and Methods: Interviews were conducted with departmental clinical staff to determine the important factors to investigate regarding the biopsy experiences of patients, and the subject matter was generally discussed with the patients. Afterwards, a retrospective study was designed using a questionnaire, which was posted to 100 consecutive patients. Data of the questionnaires were recorded and analyzed.
Results:Our findings suggested the need for the greater involvement of the patients in selecting the most appropriate approach for the notification of biopsy results. Moreover, a proportion of the patients were found to benefit from anxiety evaluation at the outset of the treatment so as to identify the high-risk cases for postoperative anxiety.
Conclusion: According to the results, changing the methods of result notification may facilitate a patient-centred approach to identify potentially anxiety-provoking and life-changing processes. It is recommended that further investigation be conducted to explore the postoperative psychological states of patients prior to receiving test results for comparison with our findings.