Research Article
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Published Online: 25 July 2011

What to Wear When Practicing Oriental Medicine: Patients' Preferences for Doctors' Attire

Publication: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume 17, Issue Number 8

Abstract

Objectives: The patient's impression of the doctor is an important factor in a clinical consultation, and the doctor's attire also plays a great role in promoting trust and confidence in the patients. Previous studies have shown that a doctor in a white coat will appear more professional, confident, and trustworthy. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the influence of a doctor's attire applies for both Western and Oriental medical doctors.
Methods: Before a clinical consultation, 153 patients were asked to assess photographs showing an identical doctor wearing four different dress styles. The patients were divided into two groups: One group was told that the doctor in the photograph was a Western doctor, whereas the other group was told that the doctor was an Oriental medical doctor. Patients' ratings of preference for competency, trustworthiness, comfortableness, and treatment choice were then measured and compared.
Results: Patients preferred a doctor in a white coat the most, giving highest ratings for competency and trustworthiness, while reporting to feel most comfortable with a doctor in traditional dress. No difference was found between Western and Oriental medical doctors. Patients prefer their doctors to wear white coats, regardless of whether the doctor is a Western or Oriental medical doctor, even though patients feel more comfortable with doctors wearing traditional dress.
Conclusions: The preference about doctors' attire symbolizes the perception of patients regarding their doctor's image. Taking the historical and symbolic meaning of the doctor's white coat together, this clear preference of patients for the white coat might imply that patients require a more scientific and professional image, regardless of whether the doctors are Western or Oriental medical doctors.

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Published In

cover image The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume 17Issue Number 8August 2011
Pages: 763 - 767
PubMed: 21721926

History

Published in print: August 2011
Published online: 25 July 2011
Published ahead of print: 1 July 2011

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Dong-Seon Chang
Acupuncture & Meridian Science Research Center, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Hyeyeon Lee
Acupuncture & Meridian Science Research Center, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Hyejung Lee
Acupuncture & Meridian Science Research Center, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Hi-Joon Park
Acupuncture & Meridian Science Research Center, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Younbyoung Chae
Acupuncture & Meridian Science Research Center, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Notes

Address correspondence to:Younbyoung Chae, OMD, PhDAcupuncture & Meridian Science Research CenterCollege of Oriental MedicineKyung Hee University1 Hoegi-dongDongdaemun-guSeoul 130-701Republic of KoreaE-mail: [email protected]

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