Patient Care

Facecards Improve Familiarity with Physician Names but Not Satisfaction


Clinical question: Do facecards improve patients’ familiarity with physicians and increase satisfaction, trust, and agreement with physicians?

Background: Facecards can improve patients’ knowledge of names and roles of physicians, but their impact on other outcomes is unclear. This pilot trial was designed to assess facecards’ impact on patient satisfaction, trust, or agreement with physicians.

Study design: Cluster, randomized controlled trial (RCT).

Setting: A large teaching hospital in the United States.

Synopsis: Patients (n=138) were randomized to receive either facecards with the name and picture of their hospitalists, as well as a brief description of the hospitalist’s role (n=66), or to receive traditional communication (n=72). There were no significant differences in patient age, sex, or race.

Patients who received a facecard were more likely to correctly identify their hospital physician (89.1% vs. 51.1%; P< 0.01) and were more likely to correctly identify the role of their hospital physician than those in the control group (67.4% vs. 16.3%; P<0.01).

Patients who received a facecard rated satisfaction, trust, and agreement slightly higher compared with those who had not received a card, but the results were not statistically significant (P values 0.27, 0.32, 0.37, respectively.) The authors note that larger studies may be needed to see a difference in these areas.

Bottom line: Facecards improve patients’ knowledge of the names and roles of hospital physicians but have no clear impact on satisfaction with, trust of, or agreement with physicians.

Citation: Simons Y, Caprio T, Furiasse N, Kriss, M, Williams MV, O’Leary KJ. The impact of facecards on patients’ knowledge, satisfaction, trust, and agreement with hospitalist physicians: a pilot study. J Hosp Med. 2014;9(3):137-141.

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