Most hospital patients don't know docs

Jan. 30, 2009 at 2:28 PM
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CHICAGO, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Most hospital patients can't identify their doctors by name or explain their roles in the patients' treatment, a University of Chicago survey indicates.

Roughly 75 percent of the patients surveyed by university researchers couldn't name any doctor assigned to their care, The New York Times reported Friday. Of the 25 percent who cough up a name, only 40 percent were correct.

Patients who said they understood the roles of their physicians involved in their care were more likely to correctly identify at least one of their doctors, survey results indicated.

University of Chicago researchers interviewed 2,807 adults admitted to the school's hospital during a 15-month period. The patients were asked about the roles of the physicians attending to them and to name the doctors on the medical teams, usually three to four people and included medical students, residents and attending physicians.

Carol Levine, with the United Hospital Fund in New York, said the study didn't include the role of family caregivers in a hospital setting.

"In a way, the patient is in the worst position possible to make notes and jot down names," Levine told the Times. "But family members are often involved, and they're the ones running down the hallway to track down a doctor."

The study was published in the latest edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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