Improving patients’ ability to identify their physicians through the use of physician facecards and whiteboards.

Link to article at PubMed

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Improving patients' ability to identify their physicians through the use of physician facecards and whiteboards.

BMJ Open Qual. 2019;8(2):e000606

Authors: Wahlberg K, Lambirth S, Gardner Z

Background: Hospitalised patients are often not able to correctly identify members of their physician team. Identifying physicians is a critical component of developing the patient-physician relationship and visual aids have been shown to improve physician identification and overall patient satisfaction.
Objectives: The aim of this quality improvement study was to assess the impact of implementation of a physician facecard on the ability of patients to identify their attending physician and other members of the physician team, as well as to evaluate current use of patient whiteboards for physician team identification.
Methods: We prospectively studied 149 patients admitted to the medicine teaching service, who were randomised to receive a physician facecard or usual care. Patients were surveyed to determine their ability to identify physician team members. Observational data was also collected regarding use of patient whiteboards. Additionally, all hospitalists were surveyed to assess their perception of these visual aids.
Results: Patients who received the facecard were more likely to recall the name of the attending physician as compared with the control group (63% vs 32%, p<0.01). Additionally, 68% of patients with the attending name correctly listed on their whiteboard were able to correctly identify the attending physician (p<0.01). Ninety per cent of patients who both received a facecard and had their whiteboard correctly filled out were able to identify the attending physician. Eighty per cent of hospitalists surveyed agreed that use of the facecard added value and 90% disagreed that routine use of the facecard was burdensome.
Conclusion: The use of physician facecards improves the ability of hospitalised patients to identify their attending physicians, and the combined use of facecards and whiteboards may provide additive benefits.

PMID: 31206066 [PubMed]

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