Docs with stethoscope more trusted by patients

Showy practitioners

Doctors who sport medical symbols like stethoscope are more likely to win their patient’s trust than those who do not, a new study on e-consultation has found.

The study found that doctors seeking to earn their clients’ trust while conducting e-consultations should wear a stethoscope and surround themselves with “iconic” medical tools. The six-month e-health project was undertaken by researchers at the Curtin University Health Innovation Research Institute. Researchers investigated the process of providing e-consultations, and whether the presence of  “iconic” medical symbols like a stethoscope, surgical scrubs or a reflex hammer would help doctors build a relationship of trust online.

In the study, a series of images portraying different combinations of medical tools were shown to 168 people who ranked them by how trustworthy they looked.

The stethoscope was ranked the most positive by participants, receiving a rating of 95 per cent.

Words associated with the medical device included honest, trustworthy, honourable, moral, ethical and genuine.

“We have doctor shortages across Australia, especially in rural regions, and we know that more doctors will be providing e-consultations to clients in an attempt to respond to the increasing demand for medical advice,” Professor Moyez Jiwa, Chair of CHIRI Chronic Disease and research leader, said.

“Applications are being developed in this area every day, so it’s really important when images of doctors or health professionals are used that a stethoscope is worn to build a relationship of trust.” Jiwa said in a statement. 

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