When it comes to what doctors should wear, a new study has found that patients prefer them in formal attire.
The study, published in BMJ, suggest that patient trust, compliance, and satisfaction all begin with a physician dressed conservative and professional attire. Specifically, formal attire and white coats was preferred 60% of the time. Researchers found that in the majority of the studies, patients expressed strong preferences about what they felt physicians should wear, or said that the way a physician dressed affected their perceptions of a physician.
“Many studies have looked at various aspects of physician attire, so we wanted to look across this body of literature to find common threads,” lead author Christopher Petrilli, MD, an internal medicine resident at the U-M Health System, explained. “But at the same time, we found a lack of detailed guidance from top hospitals to their physician about how to dress.”
The findings also revealed that only 5 of the hospitals on the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals ranking had official guidance for physicians about attire at all, with the majority of the hospitals just recommending their doctor’s attire to be “professional.” The other hospitals offered no formal guidance.
The research team is currently preparing to conduct their own study to evaluate how physician clothing choices influence several factors. The study, “Targeting Attire to Improve Likelihood of Rapport” or TAILOR, will survey patients in outpatient general medicine and specialty clinic waiting rooms and inpatient medical units.