In today's article featured on the Harvard Business Review's Leading Health Care Innovation insight center, "Understanding the Drivers of the Patient Experience," authors James I. Merlino and Ananth Raman discuss a few innovations in approaches to patient satisfaction. One of them focused primarily on caregiver appearance and it's effect on a patient's level of anxiety.
"The Cleveland Clinic found that patients were more satisfied when they had caregivers who smiled more. But when the Clinic dug deeper, it discovered that patients were not concerned about whether about their caregivers had happy expressions per se; rather, they were concerned when doctors’ and nurses’ had stern expressions because they interpreted them to mean that caregivers were concealing problems from them. This caused anxiety and, as a result, adversely affected patient satisfaction."
We found this study especially interesting based on our own hypothesis about caregiver appearance and its effect on perceived levels of trustworthiness, credibility, and overall patient satisfaction. We have drawn from our founder's experience as a licensed physician assistant working in an emergency setting to drive our product design and the services we provide. The result has been a line of lab coats and medical scrubs that are supremely tailored without loss of function, and gender-specific enough to properly fit a woman's frame while clearly enhancing professional appearance - thus ensuring a clear distinction from the myriad of flowery or whimsical prints worn by support staff. We'd love to hear from our colleagues on this. In your experience, what other aspects of a clinician's appearance impact patient satisfaction?