Who Is My Doctor? The Use of Business Cards on an Internal Medicine Teaching Service to Improve Patient Identification of Their Hospital Physicians and Patient Satisfaction

1Internal Medicine, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, and Internal Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine‐Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ
2Internal Medicine, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ
3Internal Medicine, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ
4Internal Medicine, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ
5School of Social and Family Dynamics, Sociology Program, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Meeting: Hospital Medicine 2008, April 3-5, San Diego, Calif.

Abstract number: 60

Background:

Patients cared for in the hospital today meet numerous new physicians including hospitalists, house staff, and consultants. The relationship of each provider to the care of the patient is often confusing. We proposed that the distribution of personalized business cards with the physician name, title with description, central contact number, and a photo to patients at the time of first meeting would improve the identification of physicians by patients and their satisfaction.

Methods:

Patients meeting study criteria admitted to an academic hospitalist teaching service over a 2‐month period in 2007 were eligible. During half of each month, patients received photo business cards from each member of their primary team. The back of the business cards contained a definition of intern, resident, or attending. Study patients were contacted to complete a telephone survey using questions from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) within 2 weeks of discharge.

Results:

During the 2‐month study period, 126 patients met eligibility criteria, and 74 agreed to participate. Thirty surveys were completed: 9 in the control group and 21 in the business card study group. Patients were satisfied with receiving the cards, and 85.7% felt they were helpful in knowing who was taking care of them. In the evaluation of their doctors overall, 86% of patients who received cards answered that doctors always treated them with respect, and 14% of patients answered usually treated them with respect, compared with 67% and 33%, respectively, in the control group (P = .23). Second, the cards resulted in a trend toward the improved ability of patients to name their main physician, with 71.4% of the experimental group compared with 55% of the control group being able to do so. Finally, patients given business cards felt that their main doctor explained things in a way they could understand 71% of the time as opposed to 33% in the control group, significant at the .05 level (P = .036). Of the doctors, 95.3% agreed or strongly agreed that patients seemed to like getting business cards, 80% believed the addition of the photo was helpful, and 88.4% would continue to give out this type of card if provided. The correlation between these 2 variables was 0.634, significant at all alpha levels.

Conclusions:

Patients hospitalized on an academic hospitalist teaching service found it useful to receive business cards with their physician's photo, title, description, and contact information. The cards affected patient perception of the ability of their main physician to explain things clearly. There were trends toward improvement in other important variables, but the small sample size limited attainment of statistical significance. Doctors enjoyed this type of card and would continue to use them. Given the relatively small expense and observable benefits in patient satisfaction, this simple intervention is an important tool for hospitalists and academic teaching services.

Author Disclosure:

C. W. O'Malley, MD, none; M. R. Paulson, DO, none; S. Cherukuri, DO, none; O. Fried, MD, none; N. R. Paulson, MA, none.

To cite this abstract:

O'Malley C, Paulson M, Cherukuri S, Fried O, Paulson N. Who Is My Doctor? The Use of Business Cards on an Internal Medicine Teaching Service to Improve Patient Identification of Their Hospital Physicians and Patient Satisfaction. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2008, April 3-5, San Diego, Calif. Abstract 60. https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/who-is-my-doctor-the-use-of-business-cards-on-an-internal-medicine-teaching-service-to-improve-patient-identification-of-their-hospital-physicians-and-patient-satisfaction/. Accessed December 10, 2018.

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