Physician Identification Badges: A Multispecialty Quality Improvement Study to Address Professional Misidentification and Bias

Emily M. Olson, Virginia A. Dines, Samantha M. Ryan, Andrew J. Halvorsen, Timothy R. Long, Daniel L. Price, R. Houston Thompson, Megha M. Tollefson, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Amy S. Oxentenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate whether providing resident physicians with “DOCTOR” role identification badges would impact perceptions of bias in the workforce and alter misidentification rates. Participants and Methods: Between October 2019 and December 2019, we surveyed 341 resident physicians in the anesthesiology, dermatology, internal medicine, neurologic surgery, otorhinolaryngology, and urology departments at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, before and after an 8-week intervention of providing “DOCTOR” role identification badges. Differences between paired preintervention and postintervention survey answers were measured, with a focus on the frequency of experiencing perceived bias and role misidentification (significance level, α=.01). Free-text comments were also compared. Results: Of the 159 residents who returned both the before and after surveys (survey response rate, 46.6% [159 of 341]), 128 (80.5%) wore the “DOCTOR” badge. After the intervention, residents who wore the badges were statistically significantly less likely to report role misidentification at least once a week from patients, nonphysician team members, and other physicians (50.8% [65] preintervention vs 10.2% [13] postintervention; 35.9% [46] vs 8.6% [11]; 18.0% [23] vs 3.9% [5], respectively; all P<.001). The 66 female residents reported statistically significantly fewer episodes of gender bias (65.2% [43] vs 31.8% [21]; P<.001). The 13 residents who identified as underrepresented in medicine reported statistically significantly less misidentification from patients (84.6% [11] vs 23.1% [3]; P=.008); although not a statistically significant difference, the 13 residents identifying as underrepresented in medicine also reported less misidentification with nonphysician team members (46.2% [6] vs 15.4% [2]; P=.13). Conclusion: Residents reported decreased role misidentification after use of a role identification badge, most prominently improved among women. Decreasing workplace bias is essential in efforts to improve both diversity and inclusion efforts in training programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-667
Number of pages10
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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