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Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2018 Nov 30. doi: 10.4103/ijdvl.IJDVL_250_18. [Epub ahead of print]

Do primary care physicians require training in core clinical dermatology? A cross sectional needs assessment study from Western India.

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Department of Skin and VD, GMERS Medical College, Vadodara, Gujarat, India.
Department of Community Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Vadodara, Gujarat, India.



Primary care physicians play a crucial role in managing patients with common skin disorders who form around one-third of outpatient attendees.


This study aimed to assess the need for dermatology training among primary care physicians by assessing their knowledge, self-perception of ability to diagnose and manage skin disorders, and their difficulties in managing these patients.


A descriptive, cross-sectional, needs assessment study was done among primary care physicians (n = 61) of rural (n = 34) and urban (n = 27) areas of Vadodara district. A pre-validated semi-structured questionnaire (for self-rating of the ability to diagnose/manage skin disorders and difficulties faced in managing patients) was used along with a photo-quiz (for knowledge assessment) while approaching primary care physicians during their monthly review meeting with prior permission. Data were analyzed by Epi InfoTM software and manual content analysis.


The mean score on the photo-quiz was 4.1/10. Forty-three (70.5%) participants rated their ability to diagnose/manage skin disorders as 'average' on a five-point Likert scale. Various difficulties (n = 89) narrated by participants were related to their knowledge/skill, disease factors, patients and administrative aspects. Three-fourths of the participants managed difficulties by referring patients to dermatologists. One-third suggested conducting training in common skin disorders.


The study population included primary care physicians from the government healthcare setup only. Knowledge assessment was done using a short ten-item photo-quiz instead of actual patients.


Primary care physicians had poor knowledge of skin disorders, and a majority overrated their own ability for clinical management of these disorders. Most common difficulties faced were related to clinical management. There is a need for training on common skin disorders.


Dermatology; needs assessment; primary care physicians; professional competence

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