Navigation Links
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
Date:2/13/2009

Facilities, especially teaching hospitals, have to do more to promote awareness, study says

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Most hospital patients cannot identify -- by name or role -- the doctors assigned to their care, a new case study of one urban hospital suggests.

"The majority of hospitalized patients we looked at were not able to name anybody in charge of their care," said study author Dr. Vineet Arora, associate program director at the University of Chicago's internal medicine residency program. "And when they did name somebody, they got it wrong, incorrectly naming their primary care physician or some specialist. This reflects the fact that patients are seen by a lot of different doctors and teams, and they may simply not know who's in charge of their care."

"Of course," Arora added, "it's hard to know how generalizable this is, as we only looked at one institution. But I suspect that the findings are probably reflective of the current situation at a lot of urban teaching hospitals."

The authors noted that the institution used for the new study, the University of Chicago, is what's known as a "teaching hospital." Such hospitals "not only care for patients but also train the students and residents who are there under the supervision of a board-certified faculty physician," Arora explained.

Patients in teaching hospitals are typically attended to by larger teams of caretakers than at non-teaching hospitals. And Arora said that handoffs among assorted teams of health-care providers -- including physicians, interns, sub-interns, fellows, attending residents and medical students -- can present incoming patients with a "confusing environment."

For the study, Arora and her colleagues interviewed 2,807 people admitted to the inpatient general medicine service at the University of Chicago in 2005 and 2006. Three-quarters of those surveyed were unable to name anyone in charge of their care. Of those who gave at least one possible name, 60 percent gave an incorrect answer.

Yet, 56 percent of the patients said their understanding of their doctor's role was either "very good" or "excellent."

The University of Chicago team reported its findings in a research letter published in the Jan. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A number of factors -- both patient-related and hospital-related -- seemed to influence a patient's inability to identify caretakers. Blacks, the elderly, those with less than a high school education and unmarried people had more difficulty identifying their physicians. Also, people admitted in an emergency room setting or at night by a graveyard shift (or "floating" team) were less likely to be able to identify their caregivers, the study found.

Still, 64 percent of the 1,901 patients who participated in a follow-up interview a month after being released from the hospital said they were "very satisfied" with their doctors.

The study authors said that teaching hospitals should nonetheless devote more attention to improving patient awareness of their caretaking team and the roles played by individual physicians.

"I'm a medical educator -- I teach students and residents," Arora said. "And I think it's important that we teach them to actively introduce themselves in a way that patients can understand what their role is."

But patients should also act to empower themselves by taking a proactive approach to identify those caring for them, she said.

She noted that some states have made a concerted effort to help patients in this way. The Lewis Blackman Hospital Patient Safety Act in South Carolina, for instance, mandates that "all clinical staff, clinical trainees, medical students, interns and resident physicians of a hospital shall wear badges clearly stating their names, their departments and their job or trainee titles -- in terms or abbreviations reasonably understandable to the average person."

But, one expert suggested that such consumer-friendly steps aren't enough, and that the responsibility for addressing the problem lies with medical professionals -- not patients.

"So the hospital staff -- and that means the doctors, the nurses, the residents and even the guy who cleans the room -- simply has to explain to patients again and again and again who they are and what their role is, whenever they go into the room," said Dr. Herbert Cushing, chief medical officer of Indiana University Hospital, which is a teaching hospital, and associate dean of student affairs at the university's School of Medicine.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has tips for talking with your doctor.



SOURCES: Vineet Arora, M.D., M.A., assistant professor, department of medicine, and associate program director, residency program, internal medicine, University of Chicago; Herbert Cushing, M.D., chief medical officer, Indiana University Hospital, and associate dean, student affairs, Indiana University School of Medicine; Jan. 26, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. New research explores newborn in-hospital weight loss
2. NYC-area 1st: Morgan Stanley Childrens Hospital performs transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement
3. Norwalk virus: Cruise ship illness challenging and costly to hospitals, too
4. Glades General Hospital First in Palm Beach County to Provide On-Site Electronic Birth Registration
5. Billy Graham Home After Hospitalization:
6. Alvarado Hospital Files Countersuit Against Blue Shield
7. UHW Announces: Antelope Valley Hospital Caregivers and Board Vote to Ratify First Union Contract With SEIU UHW-West
8. Texas Supreme Court Rules Against Medicare HMOs in Hospital Reimbursement Fight
9. Annual flu shot cuts need for doctors visits, hospitalization among children
10. REACH Registry Highlights That Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Suffer High Rates of Heart Attack, Stroke, Hospitalization, and Death
11. R. P. Simmons Family Foundation Pledges $2 Million for New Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Campus
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... , ... Our bodies are bombarded daily by environmental and lifestyle factors that ... is to adopt a more healthful diet, but too many people think that food ... Nutritionist and the creator of the Newport Beach Cleanse and 14-Day Eating Plan, disagrees ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... On Tuesday, April ... across the Southeast, celebrated the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal on SB 258, the ... Duncan (R - Cumming), offers a 70% tax credit to individuals and corporations which ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... The American workforce ... stability, even security. Most importantly, employees are the single most important asset in ... workers so unhappy? , Just under half of American workers are emotionally checked ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Dr. Bernie Siegel, ... "LOVE, MEDICINE and MIRACLES") addresses touchy topics related to Death live on ... Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of a plethora of essential books-to-read for physicians ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... The White House ... their loans, more information about their loan terms and accounts, and more protections ... debt, including federal and private loans, has reached $1.3 trillion, with 43 million ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... 27, 2016 Oasmia Pharmaceutical ... of a new generation of drugs within human ... results for Paclical/Apealea in the Phase III study ... epithelial ovarian cancer. These preliminary results showed non-inferiority ... with carboplatin versus Taxol in combination with carboplatin. ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... At the Sachs CEO forum ... Phase 2 clinical study of its lead drug candidate, ... implantation (CI) surgery. This large, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 2 ... and France . STR001 ... time of surgery. "Despite advances in cochlear implant technology, ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... 2016 US demand for infection prevention ... percent annually to $27.6 billion in 2020.  Increasing ... decrease rates of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) will boost ... services.  Although declining, the overall rate of certain ... set by the CDC.  Recent statistics indicate that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: