Use of In-Office Preparations by Dermatologists for the Diagnosis of Cutaneous Fungal Infections

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD






Cutaneous fungal infections account for millions of office visits per year, yet their varied presentations often lead to misdiagnosis. If dermatology clinics are Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) certified, direct microscopy with potassium hydroxide or other stains can be used to inexpensively and rapidly diagnose fungal infections. In this survey, we examined dermatologists’ perceptions of fungal preparations and CLIA certification to identify barriers that prevent the use of these bedside diagnostics. The response rate was 13% (n=308, based on the number of emails opened). When a cutaneous fungal infection is suspected, 20.94% rarely/never and 19.86% sometimes perform fungal preparations, often because they think clinical diagnosis is adequate or that preparations take too long. 21.32% reported not having CLIA certification, most frequently because the process requires too much work, or they do not know how to apply. Of providers with CLIA certification, over 25% thought it was difficult to obtain. Our results demonstrate that numerous barriers prevent the common use of fungal preparations, including the perception that clinical diagnosis is sufficient and the lack of required CLIA certification. These barriers emphasize the need for additional education about cutaneous fungal infections and use of bedside diagnostics. Additionally, policy-based interventions are necessary to ease the process of CLIA certification.

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