Recently, outpatient healthcare service has stood out at community hospitals. In this study; it was aimed to evaluate patients
seen by an internal medicine specialist (IMS) in outpatient clinic in terms of necessity for seeing the specialist and discuss the
negative impact of unnecessary specialist visits on the patient, the doctor and the healthcare system.
Methods: All patients that were seen by an IMS during January 2017 were included in the study. Patient records were screened
retrospectively to obtain the data needed. Patients age, gender, accompanying diseases and the reason of visit to outpatient
clinic were recorded. The reasons of visit were categorized and number of patients for each group were detected. The groups were
seperated as eligible and not eligible to be seen by a specialist. Results were evaluated using SPSS for Windows 13.
Results: 250 female, 122 male, totally 372 patients were included in the study. Mean age was 49.54 ± 16.30 years. 37.5% patients
had accompanying diseases. Most frequent visit reasons were getting a blood test related to chronic illness and simple infections.
49.5% of the patients seen in IM outpatient clinic did not meet the criteria to be seen by a specialist (blood test for chronic disease,
renewal of prescription, tests wanted by an external doctor, general blood tests, simple infections, visit to wrong speciality,
control blood tests for a new diagnosis) and could easily have been handled by their family practitioners. Only half of the patients
needed to be seen by an IMS.
Conclusion: Limiting the patients seen in internal medicine outpatient-clinics only to persons who necessarily need to be seen by
a specialist , would increase efficiency of the proper usage of specialist resources, might prevent malpractice claims, create doctor
and patient satisfaction and make an important contribution to the healtcare system.