Impact of Military Physician Rank and Appearance on Patient Perceptions of Clinical Competency in a Primary Care Setting

Richard E. Trowbridge, Ryan Pearson
2013 Military medicine  
The patient-physician interaction is an important aspect of primary care medicine. Few studies have investigated the military specific factors that influence these interactions. Using a cross-sectional survey, we evaluated the impact of physician rank and attire on a patient's confidence in their physician's medical abilities and willingness to disclose personal information. Patient perception was assessed in the domains of (1) confidence in physician's medical abilities and (2) comfort
more » ... ng sexual, psychological, and personal problems with a physician. Our results found physicians of higher rank showing a higher positive impact on patient's confidence compared to lower ranks ( p 0.0001). Patients were less comfortable discussing sexual ( p = 0.001), psychological ( p 0.0001), and personal ( p = 0.005) problems with an O-3 (Air Force Captain) than higher ranked physicians. Casual business attire negatively affected patient's confidence in their physician's abilities and in their comfort discussing sexual, psychological, and personal problems ( p 0.0001). Removing resident physician data did not significantly alter results. This pilot study on military rank and appearance shows a statistically significant impact to patient-physician interactions. Lower rank and casual attire is statistically detrimental to the patient's perception of their physician's abilities irrespective of resident physician involvement. Impact of Military Physician Rank and Appearance on Patient Perceptions
doi:10.7205/milmed-d-13-00197 pmid:24005549 fatcat:6wegfa2qwvhedb3hvtzoqkyv64