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What do Patients Want from Their Healthcare Providers?

What do Patients Want from Their APs? Patient Preferences When It Comes to Their Healthcare Providers

Patient satisfaction is an important component of the Healthcare Provider-Patient relationship. Patient expectations of APs greatly affect satisfaction levels and can make or break strong healthcare providers relationships. Understanding patient expectations of APs can help enhance your practice and your patients experience. So, what do patients want from their APs? Read on to learn more.

Physical Appearance

Patients prefer a Medical Provider that wears a white coat. Whether you like it or not, patients view Providers wearing white coats as more confident and comforting than those not wearing a coat(1). The white coat is not a cover all though, as Providers wearing a white coat over scrubs were viewed as less preferable than those wearing more professional clothing with a coat. This preference is most pronounced in female patients, as 72% of women compared to 27% of men report a white coat preference(1).

Computer Use

Patients expect APs to be compassionate and responsive both in and out of the clinic. This includes how APs use the technology available to them. What do patients want from their APs when it comes to using technology?

  • In the Clinic - Patients prefer healthcare providers that make eye contact and interact without using a computer. Liberal use of eye contact increases feelings of patient connection and convey empathy. Medical Providers that avoid computer use while with patients are viewed as better communicators, more professional and compassionate(2). If you don't have a photographic memory don't despair, Medical Providers who used a notepad instead of a computer were also favorably rated.
  • Outside the Clinic- Technology is changing the Healthcare landscape and the way Medical Providers communicate with their patients. Patients expect their APs to work with them online. When surveyed, a whopping 93% of patients preferred a Medical Provider who uses email to communicate(3).

Bedside Manner

Research out of Stanford recently shed light on how a Medical Providers bedside manner can affect a patient's Provider choices. Their research found that patients tend to choose Providers that mirror how they would like to optimally feel(4). Patient expectations of APs varied depending on their personality. Patients looking to feel up and energetic tended to choose Medical Providers mirroring a higher arousal state while those seeking a calmer state tended to choose Medical Providers with a calmer affect.

Patients Expect APs to Be Relatable

We are more likely to trust and confide in those we feel are like ourselves. Patients have the same expectation of their APs. Taking the time to understand a patient's lifestyle and background can help you better understand their needs and make relating to them easier. Voicing an understanding of their issues and opening up about yourself can help forge a stronger Patient-Provider relationship.



1. Landry M, Dornelles AC, Hayek G, Deichmann RE. Patient Preferences for AP Attire: The White Coat's Place in the Medical Profession. The Ochsner Journal. 2013;13(3):334-342.

2. Effects of examination room computer on cancer patients perception of Medical Provider's compassion, communication skills, and professionalism: A randomized clinical trial. J Clin Oncol 35, 2017 (suppl 31S; abstract 26)


4. Sims, T., Tsai, J. L., Koopmann-Holm, B., Thomas, E. A. C., & Goldstein, M. K. (2014). Choosing a Medical Provider depends on how you want to feel: The role of ideal affect in health-related decision making. Emotion, 14(1), 187-192.

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