29 Oct Physicians in Training and Basic Etiquette: Room for Improvement
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Block: Our goal was to look at how often doctors in training were performing basic niceties with their patients, such as introducing themselves and sitting down. We found that while the doctors usually asked open-ended questions and touched patients, resident physicians were unlikely to introduce themselves, explain their role, or sit down when talking to patients.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Block: Yes, we were surprised to note that resident doctors estimated performing these behaviors more frequently than was observed.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Block: Basic etiquette in patient care is associated with higher patient satisfaction, and has been shown to impact the patient-doctor relationship. Resident physicians are not commonly performing these behaviors, which speaks to an opportunity for education and role-modeling in the clinical setting.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Block: We believe the next step is to perform an intervention looking at whether simple curricula in communication skills or environmental changes such as providing chairs in patient rooms can encourage doctors to perform these behaviors more commonly.
Block, L., Hutzler, L., Habicht, R., Wu, A. W., Desai, S. V., Novello Silva, K., Niessen, T., Oliver, N. and Feldman, L. (2013), Do internal medicine interns practice etiquette-based communication? A critical look at the inpatient encounter. J. Hosp. Med.. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2092