CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Journal of Academic Ophthalmology 2019; 11(01): e36-e42
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1688913
Research Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Patient Preferences for Physician Attire in Ophthalmology Practices

Lindsey B. De Lott
1  Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
,
Joseph F. Panarelli
2  Department of Ophthalmology, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, New York, New York
,
David Samimi
3  Eyesthetica, Los Angeles, California
4  Roski Eye Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California
,
Christopher Petrilli
5  Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Innovation, Department of Medicine, New York University Langone Health, New York, New York
6  Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
,
Ashley Snyder
6  Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
,
Latoya Kuhn
7  Center for Clinical Management Research, Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, Michigan
8  Veterans Affairs/University of Michigan Patient Safety Enhancement Program, Ann Arbor, Michigan
,
Sanjay Saint
7  Center for Clinical Management Research, Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, Michigan
8  Veterans Affairs/University of Michigan Patient Safety Enhancement Program, Ann Arbor, Michigan
9  Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
,
Vineet Chopra
6  Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
7  Center for Clinical Management Research, Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, Michigan
8  Veterans Affairs/University of Michigan Patient Safety Enhancement Program, Ann Arbor, Michigan
9  Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
,
Katherine M. Whipple
10  Envision Eye & Aesthetics, Rochester, New York
› Author Affiliations
Funding L.B.D.: National Eye Institute, Bethesda, MD (K12EY022299–04). The funding organization had no role in the design or conduct of this study.
Further Information

Publication History

05 November 2018

08 April 2019

Publication Date:
25 May 2019 (online)

  

Abstract

Importance Interest is growing in targeting physician attire to improve the patient experience. Few studies in ophthalmology have examined patient preferences for physician attire.

Objective To understand patient preferences for physician attire in ophthalmology practices in the United States.

Design Survey-based, cohort study.

Setting Two private and two academic ophthalmology practices.

Participants A convenience sample of patients receiving ophthalmic care between June 1, 2015 and October 31, 2016.

Methods A questionnaire containing 22 questions and photographs of a male and female physician in seven forms of attire were presented to patients; 14 unique questionnaires were randomly distributed. Patient preference for physician attire was the primary outcome determined by summing ratings of how knowledgeable, trustworthy, caring, approachable, and comfortable the pictured physician made the respondent feel. One-way ANOVA assessed differences in mean composite scores. Comparisons between respondent demographics, practice type, and attire preferences were assessed by chi-square tests. Patient satisfaction was assessed by agreement with questions about importance of physician attire and whether this influences happiness with care.

Results In total, 1,297 of 1,826 (71.0%) questionnaires were completed. Physician attire was rated as “important” by 62.9% of participants. A total of 43.6% of participants indicated that physician attire influenced how happy they were with their care. Overall, formal attire with white coat was preferred to casual, formal, and business attire (all comparisons, p < 0.05). No differences in composite scores between formal attire with white coat, scrubs alone, scrubs with white coat, or casual attire with white coat were observed. However, compared with formal attire with white coat, physicians wearing scrubs without white coat appeared less knowledgeable (mean [standard deviation]: 8.2 [1.8] vs. 7.4 [2.1]; p < 0.05) and trustworthy (8.3 [1.8] vs. 7.6 [2.1]; p < 0.05). Additionally, casual attire with white coat was rated as less knowledgeable compared with formal attire with white coat (7.4 [2.0] vs. 8.2 [1.8]; p < 0.05). Preferences for attire varied by clinical setting: patients preferred surgeons (45.2%) and physicians in emergency rooms (41.7%) in scrubs rather than formal attire with white coat.

Conclusions Physician attire is important to patients receiving ophthalmic care. Policies aimed at physician attire in ophthalmology practices should be considered.

Note

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. government.