Background: Patients often cannot recognise the names and faces of providers involved in their hospital care. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether photographs of a patient's providers (physicians and ancillary support staff) using the FACES (Faces of All Clinically Engaged Staff) instrument would increase recognition of the healthcare team, improve the perception of teamwork, and enhance patient satisfaction. Methods: Cluster randomised controlled trial with patients admitted to four adult internal medicine services of an urban, tertiary care hospital. Patients randomly admitted to two services received the FACES instrument, while the remainder served as control. Study measurements included the proportion of patients able to recognise their care providers by photograph, name and role, as well as patient rating of communication among healthcare team members and their satisfaction with the hospital experience as assessed by a survey. Results: A total of 197 of the 322 (61.2%) patients screened for participation proved eligible for the study. Key exclusion criteria included cognitive or visual impairment and non-fluency with English. Patients receiving the FACES instrument recognised more provider names, faces and roles than controls (all P<.001). The intervention group more strongly agreed with statements that healthcare providers communicated frequently and effectively with each other (68% vs 52%, P=.02), and worked well together (69% vs 53%, P=.02). When rating their satisfaction with the hospital experience, 50% of patients in the intervention group assigned the highest possible rating, compared with 36% of control (P=.06). Limitations: Nursing staff, although integral to healthcare teams, were not included in the FACES instrument due to privacy concerns. Conclusions: The FACES instrument improved patients' recognition of providers' names and roles, as well as patients' perception of inter-provider teamwork. There was a non-significant trend towards improved satisfaction.
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