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The Physician’s Attire and Its Influence on Patient Confidence

Adam M. Budny Department of Podiatric Surgery, Saint Vincent Charity Hospital, Cleveland, OH.

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Lee C. Rogers Department of Podiatric Surgery, Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, New York, NY.

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Vincent J. Mandracchia Department of Podiatric Surgery, Broadlawns Medical Center, Des Moines, IA.

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Steven Lascher Department of Research and Clinical Trials, Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, New York, NY.

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Although physician appearance has been a topic of discussion in the medical literature for many years, no objective research has been performed on this topic in the field of podiatric medicine. Our primary objective was to examine patient confidence in physicians as it relates to professional clinic attire versus casual or scrub outfits. We also assessed the influence of other variables, such as white coat, name tag, age, and sex, on patient confidence. We surveyed 155 podiatric medical patients from a private practice and a hospital-based clinic. The results indicate that 68% of patients surveyed felt that professional attire inspired the most confidence. Ninety-six percent of all patients either preferred white coats or were indifferent to their presence. We conclude that professionally dressed podiatric physicians may inspire more confidence in a significant percentage of their patients. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 96(2): 132–138, 2006)

Corresponding author: Adam M. Budny, DPM, Department of Podiatric Surgery, Saint Vincent Charity Hospital, 2351 E 22nd St, Cleveland, OH 44115.