Robert A. Dudas, MD, Hanna A. Lemmeran, MPH, Janet A. Serwint, MD, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD
BACKGROUND: An academic medical team may include medical students, interns, residents, fellows and an attending. Extant literature suggests that patients and their families are frequently confused by the roles and responsibilities of different members of the medical team. The purpose of this study was to determine if an information sheet containing photographs and explanations of the training of each provider would enhance a parents ability to identify their providers and understand their roles as well as increase satisfaction with care. METHODS: This was a prospective study of 100 parent-child dyads admitted to a general pediatric service. The control group received standard admission protocol while the intervention group received an additional information sheet with the names, photographs, list of the roles and training of the medical students, housestaff and attending that were providing care. Outcomes included parental ability to match names with faces from a sheet of scrambled photographs and names. Parents completed the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (PSQ) and answered questions regarding the roles of providers and attitudes towards trainees. RESULTS: Ninety four percent of parents in the intervention group were able to identify at least one provider compared to 41% of the control group (p<.01). Parents who received the intervention were more likely to correctly identify, by matching picture to name, the attending (80% vs 24%;p<.01), intern (55% vs 14%;p<.01) and medical student (67% vs 14%;p<.01). Parents in the intervention group demonstrated an improved understanding of the roles of the providers and their scores on the PSQ were higher (mean: 48.3 vs 45.4; p<.01). Qualitative data suggested that parents valued knowing the roles of providers. CONCLUSIONS: An information sheet containing the photographs of the healthcare providers along with an explanation of their roles and training improves satisfaction with care delivered by physicians-in-training and improves recognition of the healthcare team members.