Greetings by your Doctor- how do you like it?
The Archives of Internal Medicine had an interesting article about patient preferences for how a doctor greets them. Over 78% of patients want the physician to shake their hand. (I hardly ever shake hands with a patient! Why pass those germs?)
Over 50% want the doctor to greet them with their first name and 56.4% want the doctor to introduce his/her self using first and last name. (I always do this).
The study videotaped patient-doctor interactions and in over 50% of initial encounters the doctor did not mention the patient's name at all.
I found this interesting. I was always trained that unless instructed otherwise, patients should be greeted as Mr. or Ms. I train my staff to speak to patients in a formal manner unless the patient says "Oh, please call me Susan". Of course after a long relationship, everyone is on a first name basis. We are like family!
Other studies I have read said patients like to see the physician in a white lab coat and they like name badges. I have a white coat with my name embroidered above the pocket and I couldn't function without the many pockets a coat provides for my pens, booklets, hammers, stethoscope, measures, palm pilot and other tools of the trade.
So, did the study get it right? What is your preference in greeting and dress code from your doctor?