Patients Comfortable With Doctors Having Tattoos, Piercings

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Patients did not perceive a difference in physician competence, professionalism, caring, approachability, trustworthiness, or reliability based on exposed body art.
Patients did not perceive a difference in physician competence, professionalism, caring, approachability, trustworthiness, or reliability based on exposed body art.

HealthDay News — Patients do not appear to mind if doctors have tattoos or piercings, according to a study published online July 2 in the Emergency Medicine Journal.

Marissa Cohen, M.D., from St. Luke's University Health Network in Bethlehem, Penn., and colleagues surveyed emergency department patients about perceived differences in competence, professionalism, caring, approachability, trustworthiness, and reliability for physicians with and without exposed body art (nontraditional piercings, tattoos, or both).

The researchers found that patients did not perceive a difference in physician competence, professionalism, caring, approachability, trustworthiness, or reliability based on exposed body art. Regardless of physician appearance, patients assigned top box performance (on a 5-point Likert scale) in all domains >75 percent of the time.

"In the clinical setting, having exposed body art does not significantly change patients' perception of the physician," the authors write.

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