Doctors Should Position their Name Tag on the Right Side of their Chest… It’s Evidence Based!

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Here it is finally, the study we all have been waiting for. ‘THE question’ that has never been answered… until now!

Every day we all do our best to establish the best patient-physician relation possible. The first impression counts and besides introducing ourselves verbally we ware name tags to visually inform about our name and position. But did anyone actually ever ask himself if it makes a difference wether you ware your name tag on the left or right side of your chest?

Well, an orthopaedic surgeon in Switzerland obviously has and conducted a ‘blinded’ study to answer this specific question. He made one hundred volunteers, blinded to the experimental setup, present for an orthopedic consultation in a standardized manner. The name tag of the physician was randomly positioned on the left chest side and presented to 50 individuals (age 35 years (range 17 to 83)) or the right chest side and then presented to 50 other individuals (35 years (range 16 to 59)). The time of the participant noticing the name tag was documented. Subsequently, the participant was questioned concerning the relevance of a name tag and verbal self-introduction of the physician.

38% of the participants noticed the nametag on the right as opposed to 20% who noticed it if placed on the left upper chest… hey, this turned out to be statistically significant, giving us a p-value of 0.0473!

The author concludes: Positioning the name tag on the right chest side results in better and faster visibility.

We conclude:
– Also orthopaedic surgeons seem to be interested in a close patient-physician relationship
– Orthopedic surgeons actually do talk to their patients!
– Orthopedic surgeons in Switzerland don’t seem to be overstrained with their workload
Schmid SL et al. March 2015, PLOS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119042

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