Sometimes, perceptions can make for good medicine, a new study suggests.
A survey of 255 patients found most people prefer their dermatologists to wear a white coat, and what their doctor wears may affect results.
The patients were shown photos of dermatologists wearing either a suit, a white coat (professional attire), surgical scrubs or casual clothing, and asked which they favored.
A white coat was the most preferred (73 percent), followed by surgical scrubs (19 percent), a suit (6 percent) and casual clothing (2 percent).
“In this study, most patients preferred professional attire for their dermatologists in most settings,” wrote Dr. Robert Kirsner, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and coauthors.
“It is possible that patients’ perceptions of their physicians’ knowledge and skill is influenced by the physicians’ appearance, and these perceptions may affect outcomes,” the study authors concluded.
The study was published online June 1 in the journal JAMA Dermatology.
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers advice on choosing a doctor.