Background: More often than not, hospitalized patients are not able to correctly identify members of their physician team. Being able to identify physicians is a critical component of developing the patient-physician relationship. The use of facecards and whiteboards appears to improve hospitalized patients’ ability to identify their physician and may be associated with improvements in patient experience. The aim of this quality improvement study was to assess the impact of implementation of a physician facecard on the ability of patients to correctly identify their attending physician, as well as evaluate current use of patient whiteboards and compare the effectiveness of this visual aid to the facecard. Lastly, we assessed hospitalist perception of these visual aids.
Methods: This prospective study was conducted at the University of Vermont Medical Center. A total of 149 patients and 18 hospitalists were enrolled. Patients were eligible for enrollment if they were admitted to the internal medicine hospitalist teaching service, and hospitalists were enrolled if they were the attending physician on the inpatient service. Hospitalists were randomized to use a physician facecard (intervention, Figure 1) or not (control) during all patient encounters. Patients were surveyed to assess their ability to identify their attending physician and other members of their physician team. Observational data was also collected regarding use of patient whiteboards. Additionally, hospitalists were surveyed to assess their perception of patient’s ability to identify their physicians, as well as attitudes towards use of the facecard.
Results: Patients who received the facecard were significantly more likely to be able to recall the name of their attending physician as compared to the control group (63% vs 32%, p < 0.01). Among the 68 study patients who had the attending physician name recorded on the whiteboard, 68% were able to correctly identify the attending physician as compared to 32% in the control group (p <0.01, Table 1). Ninety percent of patients who received a physician facecard and had the attending physician name listed on the whiteboard were able to identify their attending physician correctly, with a regression model demonstrating an independent benefit from each visual aid and no evidence of interaction between them. Eighty percent of hospitalists surveyed agreed that use of the facecard added value and 90% disagreed that routine use of the facecard was burdensome.
Conclusions: The use of physician facecards improves the ability of hospitalized patients to identify their physicians, and the combined use of facecards and whiteboards may provide additive benefits.
To cite this abstract:Wahlberg, K; Lambirth, S; Gardner, Z. IMPROVING PATIENTS’ ABILITY TO IDENTIFY THEIR PHYSICIANS THROUGH THE USE OF PHYSICIAN FACECARDS AND WHITEBOARDS. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2019, March 24-27, National Harbor, Md. Abstract 374. https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/improving-patients-ability-to-identify-their-physicians-through-the-use-of-physician-facecards-and-whiteboards/. Accessed May 26, 2019.