Do Your Patients Know Your Qualifications?

Education and training matter when it comes to who provides healthcare, but do most patients know the qualifications of their healthcare provider? A dozen states have now implemented laws that require healthcare providers to be more transparent about their credentials in an effort to eliminate the confusion among patients. Out of the 25 states that introduced legislation, 12 states have passed regulations in which healthcare professionals must wear ID badges that clearly state their credentials or list their experience in marketing materials, American Medical News reported. The movement is largely influenced by the AMA’s “Truth in Advertising” campaign, which targets a hot-button issue among healthcare professionals. A specific point of contention is whether it is misleading for a nonphysician provider who has a PhD, but not an MD or DO, to identify himself as “Dr.” According to the AMA, truth in advertising legislation can help provide the clarity and transparency necessary for patients to have the information they need to make informed decisions about their healthcare. The expanding role of nonphysician  providers and the disappearing traditional white coat have left many patients confused (see table from the AMA survey). Key findings from the AMA survey include: 92% agree that only licensed medical doctors should use the title “physician.” 91% of respondents said that a physician’s years of medical education and training are vital to optimal patient care, especially in the event of a complication or medical emergency. 84% of respondents said that they prefer a physician to have primary responsibility for the diagnosis and management of their healthcare. 87% would support legislation in their state to require all healthcare...