Physician Practice

Physicians’ attire linked to patient satisfaction rates

Physician Practice Insider, February 24, 2015

What can incent a patient to trust a physician, follow her directions, and remember the interaction with satisfaction?

One recent study released this week in The BMJ suggests that a conservative and professional style of dress—complete with the quintessential white coat—is where trust, patient compliance, and patient satisfaction begin.

The study finds that the majority of patients prefer physicians in professional attire, as defined within the study as "a collared shirt, tie and slacks for male physicians and blouse (with or without a blazer), skirt, or suit pants for female physicians." This came as no surprise to the study's lead author, Christopher Petrilli, MD, an internal medicine resident at the University of Michigan Health System, who spent several years in the buttoned-down financial industry prior to beginning medical school.

"Every time a patient comes in to the clinic or sees physicians on the wards, there's a certain expectation of how their physician will dress," says Petrilli. The data overwhelmingly suggests that first impressions do matter, though Petrilli and his colleagues find that patients are less concerned with attire after the first visit.

The researchers aggregated data from 30 studies originating in 14 countries and found that a majority of patients prefer physicians who dress professionally. The results were a bit more diverse when factoring a physician's specialty, geographic region, and care setting.

Read more via HealthLeaders Media.

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