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The Impact of Plastic Surgeon's Attire on Patients' Perceptions
Fara Dayani, BS1; Kometh Thawanyarat,BS2; Rahim S. Nazerali3
1UCSF, SF,CA, 2Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, 3Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Background: Physician attire has been shown to impact patientsí perceptions of their provider with regards to professionalism, competency, and trustworthiness in other surgical subspecialties. However, there are no studies in the literature that have explored the impact of physician attire on patient perceptions in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Our study aims to address this knowledge gap and obtain objective information regarding patientsí preferences.
Methods: A survey was distributed to adult, English-speaking participants in the United States using Amazon Mechanical Turk platform from Feb 2020 to December 2020. Participants were asked to evaluate 6 attires (scrubs, scrubs w/ white coat (WC), business casual (BC), business casual w/ white coat, casual, casual w/ white coat) in terms of professionalism, competency, and trustworthiness for male and female plastic surgeons during their first encounter in clinic using a 5-point Likert scale. The 5-point Likert scale ranged from strongly disagree to strongly agree, and it was converted into a numerical scale ranging from 1-5 for our analysis.
Results: A total of 302 responses were obtained, which consists of 43.4% men and 56.6% women. Mean age of participants was 53.2 years. The highest professionalism and competency score was given to the business casual w/ white coat group with average score of 4.62 (p-value= 0.43) and 4.72 (p-value=0.23), respectively. The lowest professionalism score was given to the casual attire group, which was 3.24 (p-value=0.36). The lowest competency score was given to the casual attire with white coat group, which was 3.12 (p-value =0.36). The highest trustworthiness score was given to both the scrubs w/ white coat group and business casual w/ white coat group which was 4.58 (p-value =0.19). The lowest trustworthiness score was given to the casual attire group, which was 3.54 (p-value=0.32). There was no statistically significant difference in terms of patientsí preferences for the attire of male and female surgeons.
Conclusion: Our study suggests that physician attire impacts patientsí perception of plastic and reconstructive surgeons with regards to their professionalism, competency, and trustworthiness. White coats continue to remain a powerful entity in clinical settings given that attires with white coats were consistently ranked higher.


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