Improving Patient Recognition of Healthcare Team Members and their Roles: A Quality Improvement Project

From the 2022 HVPA National Conference

Abhijit Marathe MBBS (University of Central Florida HCA Healthcare GME, Greater Orlando, Florida), Tin Pham DO, Semeon Tadesse MD, Franca Samoilovich MD, Manuel Egued MD, Joshua Shultz MD, George Alvarez DO, Ashwini Komarla MD, Olga Karasik MD


Patients in teaching hospitals may be confused regarding the healthcare professionals involved in their care and their respective roles. This can be due to multiple physicians taking care of patients, residents failing to introduce themselves, limited interaction time, language barriers and use of personal protective equipment. Patients who are unable to recognize their physicians may be less knowledgeable about their hospitalization and not know whom to direct questions to, impairing their ability to make informed decisions.


To determine whether patients admitted to a community teaching hospital can name or describe members of the primary inpatient team and their roles. Our goal was to increase patients’ recognition, presuming that it would lead to an improved patient experience while hospitalized.


Patients were surveyed on day 3 or 4 of admission, ensuring that they had enough time to interact with a consistent team. We included patients who were comfortable understanding English and had intact mental capacity throughout admission. Exclusion criteria included patients who were under any isolation precautions or admitted to the intensive care unit. We developed a Team Guide and distributed it to patients. This was a visual representation of the team hierarchy,  along with the name and description of each primary team member and their role. Patient surveys were done before and after implementation of the Team Guide.


In the pre-intervention survey of 22 patients, 32% accurately described the attending while 27% recalled their name. None of the patients could describe or recall the senior resident’s name. Only 5% accurately described the intern, while none could recall their name.

In the post-intervention survey of 12 patients, 75% accurately described the attending while 17% recalled their name. A total of 42% described the senior resident, while 17% recalled their name. Up to 58% accurately described the intern, while only 8% could recall the intern’s name.


Our results suggest that the Team Guide did not solidify recognition of names, but did improve descriptions of providers, likely by providing a marker of recognition. Although partially successful, our intervention faced multiple logistical hurdles mostly due to the lack of a reproducible and sustainable method to print weekly Team Guides.

Clinical Implications 

Previous studies involving similar interventions such as photographs, written cards or room displays were successful in increasing patient awareness but ultimately not sustainable. Other institutions have achieved greater success by displaying physician names and pictures on electronic display screens in patients’ rooms. We will aim to use this collective data to implement more sustainable interventions at our institution.

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