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The letters by Blondell et al and Drs Neinstein and Adelman add interesting data to the literature on patient preferences and reinforce the fact that patients' preferences appear to depend heavily on their ages, the setting, and, of course, the individual. One of the more striking findings in our study was the lack of difference between patients at teaching hospitals in San Francisco and Boston. However, we would agree that caution should be used in applying our data to other populations, such as the pediatric patients of Dr Neinstein.Like Dr Koumbourlis, we do not believe that attire and etiquette are substitutes for good clinical skills, but we do feel that they play a role in the development of physician-patient relationships. In situations in which patients have the opportunity to select (or reject) their physicians, they presumably choose physicians with whom they feel comfortable. In situations in which
Dunn JJ, Lee TH, Goldman L. Patients and the Habits of House Officers-Reply. JAMA. 1987;257(15):2032. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390150047017