Background This explorative study was triggered by the ‘#hellomynameis’ campaign initiated by Dr Kate Granger in the UK. Our objectives were twofold: first, to measure rates of introduction in an Irish hospital setting by both consultant and non-consultant hospital doctors. Second to establish whether such practices were associated with patient perceptions of the doctor/patient interaction.
Method A patient ‘exit’ survey was undertaken following doctor–patient consultations in both acute (surgical and medical assessment units) and elective settings (outpatient clinics). The survey was carried out over a 5-month period by three trained clinical observers.
Results A total of 353 patients were surveyed. There were 253 outpatients and 100 inpatients surveyed. There were 121 outpatients (47.8%) who attended a surgeon, 73 were medical (28.8%), while 59 (23.3%) were divided between obstetrics, gynaecology and ophthalmology. One hundred acute presentations were surveyed: 52% in the emergency department, 20% to the acute medical assessment unit, 21% attended the acute surgical assessment unit and 7% attended other specialties/departments.
Conclusion According to the returned forms, 79% of doctors (n=279) introduced themselves to patients. Eleven per cent (39) of doctors did not introduce themselves, and 8.5% of patients (30) were unsure whether the doctor had introduced themselves. Five patients left their response blank.
Consultants were significantly more likely (P=0.02) to introduce themselves or shake hands than non-consultant hospital doctors. Gender had no bearing (P=0.43) on introductions or handshakes regardless of grade of doctor.
Three hundred and seventeen patients (89.7%) felt that an introduction had made a positive difference to their healthcare visit. Thirty patients (8.5%) felt it did not make a difference and 8 patients (2.2%) were unsure or failed to answer.
This study has highlighted the importance of introductions to patients. Definite evidence of an introduction was documented in 79% of patients with 14.5% either not receiving or could not recall whether an introduction had been made on repeat visits. 6.5% stated that they did not receive an introduction.
- patient/doctor communication
- quality in health care
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Contributors The writing, processing and analysis of the article were done by PG with input from EMD. SFS, AG and MO carried out the study.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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