Comparison of patients' and providers' severity evaluation of oral mucosal conditions

Francesca Sampogna, Björn Söderfeldt, Björn Axtelius, Fabio Bergamo, Paolo Gisondi, Cristina Di Pietro, Livia Alessandroni, Calogero Pagliarello, Grazia Zino, Paola Pallotta, Stefano Tabolli, Damiano Abeni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In dental diseases, significant discrepancies were observed in the oral health-related quality of life evaluation between patients and providers. Few studies have been performed specifically on the impact of oral mucosal diseases on patients' health. Objective: We sought to compare the evaluation of the severity of oral mucosal conditions in providers and patients. Methods: Patients with an oral mucosal condition were recruited at the oral health care unit of a dermatologic hospital. Severity was evaluated both by the physician and by the patient, using a global severity assessment score on a 5-point scale. The 14-item Oral Health Impact Profile was used to evaluate oral health-related quality of life, the 12-item General Health Questionnaire for psychologic problems, and the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale for alexithymia (ie, the difficulty in identifying and expressing feelings). Results: Data were complete for 206 patients. The agreement between patients' and providers' evaluation was very low (Cohen κ = 0.18). Severity was particularly underestimated by the physician in patients with alexithymia (43% compared with 25% of patients with no alexithymia) and with psychologic problems (44% vs 25%). Limitations: Because of the high number of different conditions, and thus the small figures in each group, it was not possible to analyze the concordance between patient and provider in each single condition. Conclusion: Even in the severity assessment of his or her own disease, it is plausible that a patient does not provide a simple clinical evaluation, but includes subjective aspects. It is important for the physician to take into account the severity the patient perceives in making treatment decisions, and in evaluating clinical improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • 14-item Oral Health Impact Profile
  • alexithymia
  • communication patient-provider
  • oral mucosal conditions
  • Physician Global Assessment
  • quality of life
  • severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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