Study: Hospital patients often can't identify their doctors

A new study concludes that patients are often unable to name so much as a single physician caring for them during their hospital stay, much less describe those physicians' roles in their care.

To conduct the study, which appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Chicago interviewed 2,807 adults admitted to the school's hospital during a 15-month period. They asked patients to name doctors on the teams involved in their care, as well as the roles those physicians played.

About 75 percent of patients couldn't name any of the doctors assigned to them. Of the 25 percent who felt they could name at least one physician, only 40 percent were correct.

Patients who said they understood the roles of their doctors were more likely to come up with at least one correct name. Meanwhile, patients who could name one of their doctors were more likely to be unsatisfied with their care.

To learn more about the study:
- read this piece in The New York Times

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