Physician attire is important during care, more than half of patients say

The clothes physicians wear can influence patient satisfaction, according to a study published in BMJ Journals.

For the study, researchers polled 4,062 patients at10 U.S. academic hospitals. The patients were recruited between June 1, 2015, and Oct. 31, 2016.

As one part of the study, the patients looked at photos of a male and female physician dressed in different attire and in different clinical settings. Patients then rated the provider on the following characteristics: knowledgeable, trustworthy, caring, approachable and comfortable. Researchers took the composite of responses to determine patient preference for attire.

The study found 53 percent of patients said physician attire was important to them while they received care, and more than one-third said physician attire influenced their care satisfaction. Overall, the attire rated most highly by patients was formal attire with a white coat, compared to scrubs with white coat and other forms of attire.Researchers found patients 65 and older preferred formal attire with white coats, and scrubs were highest rated for surgeons.

"Patients have important expectations and perceptions for physician dress that vary by context and region. Nuanced policies addressing physician dress code to improve patient satisfaction appear important," the study's authors concluded.


More articles on physician integration issues:
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Physician assistants organization considers revamping profession's title
Connecting a nation: How Israel integrates data for 8 million patients

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