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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