A Dress Code for Docs?

How, then, should doctors dress when caring for patients? Clearly, more evidence is needed to guide members of the medical community. So we have launched a large study that aims to better understand what patients prefer when it comes to physician attire.

We plan to survey thousands of patients from the US, Italy, Switzerland and Japan in settings that span outpatient clinics, doctors offices and hospitals. Because generational effects and familiarity matter, we will specifically assess how factors such as age or how often a person interacts with the health system shape patient opinions.

While we collect data for this study, what best practices can we recommend in the interim, especially those 20,000 brand new residents?

When in doubt, formal attire with long-sleeved shirts and ties for men, and business attire for women, should prevail in nonemergency or nonoperative settings.

This practice should hold true not just for weekdays, but also when physicians are working weekends and after typical business hours. Patients and their expectations remain unchanged, regardless of hour or day.