It turns out that doctors who show higher levels of empathy have patients with better outcomes, according to a new study published in the journal Academic Medicine. The researchers based their results on the study of 20,961 patients with diabetes mellitus and their 242 primary care doctors.
The doctors’ empathy was measured with the Jefferson Scale of Empathy. Then, the study’s authors compared the results with the number of acute metabolic complications among the patients. They found out that the doctors who scored higher in the empathy test had fewer cases of complications.
The researchers emphasize the fact that the study was made in Italy, ‘in a health care system in which all residents enroll with a primary care physician resulting in a better defined relationship between the patients and their primary care physicians than what exists in the United States,’ according to co-author Daniel Z. Louis of the Thomas Jefferson University.
‘Our health care delivery systems must implement systematic change at the practice level to create an environment that supports mindful practice, encourages transparent and clear communication among clinicians, staff, patients, and families, and reduces professional isolation,’ the researchers write.
Source: The Huffington Post
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Canale SD, Louis DZ, Maio V, Wang X, Rossi G, Hojat M, & Gonnella JS (2012). The Relationship Between Physician Empathy and Disease Complications: An Empirical Study of Primary Care Physicians and Their Diabetic Patients in Parma, Italy. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 87 (9), 1243-1249 PMID: 22836852
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