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Referral pattern to the allergist for hay fever in a health-care system with open access to specialists
Little is known about referral patterns to the allergist for hay fever. In a system with open access to the specialist, we investigated the reasons for consulting an allergist in 126 patients who completed a questionnaire on their first visit. Both sexes were equally represented, the median age was 29 years, the duration of the disease and the duration of seasonal symptoms were 9 years and 10 weeks (median), respectively, and 54% of patients reported a history suggestive of asthma. The symptoms were highly variable; on average, 5.6 on a 10-cm visual analog scale. Most of the patients (94%) had been treated for hay fever before. Only 30% were referred by another physician, the rest being self-referred. The reasons for referral were investigated. The overall motivation to consult was related to symptom severity in 63% of the patients; 37% consulted for other reasons, including an expectation of greater "know-how" on the part of the allergist concerning specific diagnosis, treatment, and advice or counseling. The stimulus triggering the consultation was clearly not related to symptoms or disease in 25% of the cases. We conclude from these data that many patients are clearly interested in benefiting from the professional skill of a fully trained allergist.
Adult *Allergy and Immunology Female Humans Male Patient Acceptance of Health Care/*psychology *Referral and Consultation Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal/*psychology Switzerland
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