Objective: To assess the importance to patients of various aspects of bedside interactions with physician teams.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: VA hospital.
Patients: Ninety-seven medical inpatients.
Intervention: Survey of 44 questions including short answer, multiple choice, and Likert-type questions.
Measurements and main results: Data analysis included descriptive statistics. The sample was predominantly male, with a mean age of 62. Overall satisfaction with the hospital experience and with the team of doctors were both high (95% and 96% reported being very or mostly satisfied, respectively). Patients reported learning about several issues during their interactions with the teams; the 3 most highly rated areas were new problems, tests that will be done, and treatments that will be done. Most patients (76%) felt that their teams cared about them very much. Patients were made comfortable when the team showed that they cared, listened, and appeared relaxed (reported by 63%, 57%, and 54%, respectively). Patients were made uncomfortable by the team using language they did not understand (22%) and when several people examined them at once (13%). Many (58%) patients felt personally involved in teaching. The majority of patients liked having medical students and residents involved in their care (69% and 64%, respectively).
Conclusions: Patients have much to teach about what is important about interacting with physician teams. Although patients' reactions to team interactions are generally positive, patients are different with respect to what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable. Taking their preferences into account could improve the experience of being in a teaching hospital.