The majority of patients prefer their dermatologists to be dressed in professional attire with a white coat, according to an article published online by JAMA Dermatology.

Patient perceptions of their physicians may affect outcomes so it is possible that physician attire may affect those outcomes.

Robert S. Kirsner, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and coauthors surveyed the attitudes of dermatology patients (261 were surveyed and 255 participated and completed enough questions to be included).

Participants were shown photographs of physicians wearing business attire (suits), professional attire (white coat), surgical attire (scrubs) and casual attire. They were asked to indicate which physician they preferred in response to a series of questions.

Professional attire was the most preferred in 73 percent of responses and it was preferred in all clinic settings, according to the results. Surgical attire was preferred in 19 percent of responses, business attire in 6 percent and casual attire in 2 percent, according to the results.

Limitations of the study include response bias.

"In this study, most patients preferred professional attire for their dermatologists in most settings. It is possible that patients' perceptions of their physicians' knowledge and skill is influenced by the physicians' appearance, and these perceptions may affect outcomes," the study concludes.

Source: The JAMA Network Journals