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There is little data in the literature regarding outpatient consultation in allergy/immunology (A/I). The purpose of this study was to determine the relative frequency of different reasons for A/I outpatient consultation to help guide graduate medical education (GME) and assist with A/I practice management. We retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of all outpatient A/I consultations from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006. The study was performed at our tertiary care referral center which is a GME training site. There were 1412 A/I consults requested during the 1-year period. The consults per month ranged from a low of 69 to a high of 157. The referrals consisted of 35% pediatric and 65% adult patients. There were 52.8% female and 47.2% male patients. We received 74.3% of referrals from primary care, 19.8% from specialty care, and 5.9% from the emergency department. The most common reasons for consultation included 808 (57.2%) patients for chronic rhinitis, 288 (20.4%) for asthma, 196 (13.9%) for food allergy, 89 (6.3%) for venom allergy, 68 (4.8%) for atopic dermatitis, 66 (4.7%) for drug allergy, 62 (4.4%) for chronic urticaria, 45 (3.2%) for acute urticaria, 34 (2.4%) for immunodeficiency, 31 (2.2%) for anaphylaxis, and 162 (11.5%) for other reasons. More than one reason was given for 27.1% of consults, and there was an average of 1.3 reasons for consultation per patient. Although the allergist/immunologist is consulted for a variety of reasons, the top three reasons make up a majority of outpatient consults, and consults are often requested to address more than one diagnosis.
Department of Allergy/Immunology, Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas
Publication date: January 1, 2009
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