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New name badges offer more personal patient experience in General Internal Medicine

Toronto, January 8, 2016

By Jordyn Gibson

RN Ramata Tarawally and clinical assistant Alvin Lumbres
RN Ramata Tarawally and clinical assistant Alvin Lumbres are two staff on General Internal Medicine using name badges, which could help enhance health-care providers’ interactions with each other and patients. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)

When Diana Potts, the administrative manager of General Internal Medicine, read the book The Checklist Manifesto, highlighting the importance of remembering seemingly small or obvious things such as people’s names, she thought: “You have a better team when people know each other’s names.”

Potts said she wondered whether name badges in addition to hospital ID badges – with their small print that can be difficult to read – could help enhance health-care providers’ interactions with each other and patients on General Internal Medicine, many of whom are seniors. In October, staff and physicians began wearing both to help enhance communication.

“We are dealing with patients who are very vulnerable, who rely on support for the basic levels of care,” said Potts.

The new blue and white tags with the person’s first name help patients and their families clearly identify who is coming in and out of their rooms, Potts said.

“Often patients refer to staff members, but don’t remember their names and it becomes difficult to acknowledge their exchange,” said Potts.

The GIM leadership team hoped the badges would boost collaboration among health-care providers and patients.

“Sometimes, the most obvious initiatives are staring you right in the face, and I think this one is getting an optimistic response,” she said.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.