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Monetary and nonmonetary costs to patients attending an ambulatory dermatology clinic


Background — Despite universal coverage under a provincial health plan, the residents of Ontario, Canada, still bear some costs for outpatient care, particularly for prescription drugs.

Objective — To determine the financial and nonmonetary costs borne by patients presenting at a dermatology clinic in an academic centre, and to assess the extent to which these costs were problematic.

Methods — Consecutive new patients in a 6-week period completed a self-administered questionnaire.

Results — Eighty-six of 140 questionnaires (61%) were returned for analysis. The mean total cost to patients was C$28.92 (range $0 to $177.00). Medications were the largest expense (mean $35.66 for those receiving medication). Despite relatively prompt referrals (mean 12.4 days) and short in-office waiting time (mean 26.5 minutes), there was a trend for subjects to rate time costs as more problematic than monetary costs.

Conclusion — Patients attending a dermatology clinic bear variable monetary and nonmonetary costs. For some patients these costs may have the potential to impair access to care.



Vignjevic PM, Hux JE, Fisher BK, Szalai JP. J Cutan Med Surg. 1999; 3(4):188-92.

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