Hospitals must identify disruptive behavior, encourage etiquette-based medicine

As disruptive behavior among physicians increases, hospital leaders must encourage physicians to practice etiquette-based medicine, and promote a sense of empathy and compassion among staff.

Michael Kahn, M.D., a psychiatrist at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, shared in a recent Hospital & Health Networks article, the types of kind and considerate behaviors that healthcare leaders should encourage doctors to follow. They include:

  • Ask permission to enter the room; wait for an answer

  • Introduce yourself, show your ID badge

  • Shake hands with the patient

  • Sit down, smile if appropriate

  • Briefly explain your role on the team

  • Ask the patient how he or she feels about being in the hospital

Kahn suggested that doctors carry around a checklist of the six essentials of etiquette-based medicine to remind themselves to follow the guidelines during every new patient encounter, according to H&HN.

In many instances, bad behavior distracts the healthcare team, which can lead to medical mistakes, FierceHealthcare previously reported. A recent article published in JAMA cited a 2011 survey that found that of 523 physician leaders and 321 staff physicians, 71 percent witnessed disruptive behavior in the previous month and 26 percent were disruptive at one time in their career.

Organizations must evaluate for disruptive behavior--anything that interferes with patient care or interrupts the healthcare team's ability to work efficiently--and then establish a code of conduct, educate and train staff, and institute a process for conflict resolution, the article stated.

"Persistent disruptive behavior despite these initial interventions becomes the responsibility of the department chair, medical staff president or chief medical officer," the authors wrote.

To learn more:
- read the H&HN piece
- here's then JAMA article