Patients’ perceptions of gastroenterologists’ attire in the clinic and endoscopy suite

Authors Matthew Clark, Asim Shuja, Ashley Thomas, Scott Steinberg, Joseph Geffen, Miguel Malespin, Silvio W. de Melo Jr.


Background Studying the role of gastroenterologists’ attire can provide insight into patients’ perceptions and help us optimize the physician–patient relationship. In this study we assessed patients’ preference concerning gastroenterologists’ attire, and its influence on patients’ trust, empathy and perceptions of the quality of care in the clinic and endoscopic suite.

Methods A cross-sectional survey was conducted from August 2016 to February 2017. A total of 240 consecutive patients who presented to the Gastroenterology Department at the University of Florida in Jacksonville both in the clinic and endoscopic suite were included in this study. The questionnaire applied included 8 questions concerning patients’ preferences regarding gastroenterologists’ attire and the impact the attire had on patients’ trust, empathy and perceptions of quality of care.

Results Overall, 85% of patients preferred scrubs to formal dress clothes. The preference for scrubs was higher in the endoscopic suites (89% and 93%) compared to the outpatient office (66%, P<0.01). In addition, 82% of patients said they felt more comfortable speaking with gastroenterology doctors wearing scrubs and 85% of patients felt more confident about the skills of those gastroenterologists.

Conclusions Gastroenterologists’ attire does influence patients’ perception of the care they are receiving. There is an overall preference for the use of scrubs in the different settings of gastroenterology, both office and lab.

Keywords Patient perception, physician attire, gastroenterologist attire

Ann Gastroenterol 2018; 31 (2): 237-240

Original Articles