Doctors who share information could improve patients' satisfaction

Doctors can make patients feel more comfortable and improve their hospital stay just by sharing a few facts about themselves and making sure the patients know their name, according to a new study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma.

Between 82 percent and 90 percent of patients in hospitals aren't able to name their treating physician, according to researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They gave 100 patients in the orthopedic trauma division cards with some details about their doctors, including educational background, specialty, surgical interests and research interests. However, they didn't give cards with information to 112 patients, who all had similar injuries, insurance coverage and levels of education as the first group.

Two weeks after discharge, researchers noted satisfaction scores from 34 respondents in the group who received biographic information on their doctors was 22 percent higher than the 42 respondent patients who didn't receive cards.

"I think, in general, people recover better when they are more comfortable with the care they are receiving," Alex Jahangir, M.D., an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation, said in a study announcement. "This is an easy, cheap intervention. As health care reimbursement shifts to reward quality rather than quantity, it is important to identify ways to improve the patient experience."

Communication frameworks are also key to improving patients' hospital experience, FierceHealthcare previously reported. "With communication frameworks, staff personally engage with everyone they encounter, introduce themselves, focus on information important to patients and visitors, provides an opportunity for questions, and show gratitude," Laura E. Hamblin, manager of patient satisfaction at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood, Ky., said in the article. "In addition to keeping our guests well informed, it helps to reduce anxiety, provides a consistent display of courtesy and respect, and builds loyalty." 

To learn more:
- here's the study
- check out the study announcement