Professional Signals (06-08-18)

Research completed by Petrilli, Chopra, Saint, Kuhn, Snyder, Jennings, and Carusoindicates that the clothing worn by healthcare professionals influences the impressions people form of them—it seems probable that what the Petrilli team learned applies to other professionals and also to impressions formed via workplace design.  A press release from the University of Michigan related to the Petrilli-lead team study reports that “Just over half of the 4,062 patients surveyed in the clinics and hospitals of 10 major medical centers said that what physicians wear is important to them — and more than one-third said it influences their satisfaction with their care.   . . . The study also asked patients to look at pictures of male and female physicians in seven different forms of attire, and to imagine them in both inpatient and outpatient clinical settings. For each photo, they rated the providers on how knowledgeable, trustworthy, caring and approachable the physician appeared, and how comfortable the attire made the patient feel.”  The options presented can be viewed at the web address noted below. In short, patients “prefer physicians in business attire and a white coat, or at least scrubs and a white coat.”  There was some variation in preferences based on situation and region; for example, “patients in the Northeast and Midwest were less insistent on white coats and formal attire — 38 percent and 40 percent preferred it in these regions, compared with 50 percent in the West and 51 percent in the South.”

Kara Gavin. 2018.  “What Doctors Wear Really Does Matter to Patients.”  Press release, University of Michigan,