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What do your patients want?

It's a safe bet to assume that your patients want a knowledgeable and understanding doctor, but the finer points of their expectations and preferences might surprise you. Researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, interviewed 415 U.S. adults by telephone about how they want their doctors to greet them. The results revealed that most patients want to be greeted with a handshake and the use of their name. Desiring a more personal touch in a world quickly becoming more impersonal, they also prefer it when their doctors introduce themselves using their first and last name. The survey found that, among patients: • 78.1% wanted physicians to shake their hands, while 18.1% did not. • 50.4% wanted their first names used during greetings, 17.3% preferred their last name and 23.6% favored the physician using both first and last names. • 56.4% wanted physicians to introduce themselves using first and last names, 32.5% expected physicians to use their last name, and 7.2% would like physicians to use their first name only. According to this survey, patients would generally prefer you to shake their hand, call them by their first name, and introduce yourself with both your first and last name. Who knew?! How have you traditionally introduced yourself in the past? Was a formal patient introduction stressed in medical school?