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‘Dr. Joe’: Does this familiarity breed contempt?


Should patients call their physicians by their first names?

As this Medscape piece notes: “The rules of engagement have certainly changed in the 21st Century. In society as a whole, people and relationships have been getting steadily less formal. ”

“…In neighborhoods from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, kids call their friends’ parents by their first names. It’s no surprise, then, that this level of informality has crossed over into the medical suite.”

“{U]nfortunately, there are no definitive guidelines on how physicians and other providers should be addressed, how patients prefer to be addressed, or how staff should introduce themselves. Aside from a few small studies, published data remain scant.”

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