All of us have had an experience with a doctor who just isn’t a “people person.” The doctor doesn’t appear to understand how important this new diagnosis is to us or a loved one and he seems disconnected; observing patients like they aren’t human, just lab rats. Most of these doctors we have encountered lack empathy. But how far does a little empathy go?
Greater physician empathy has been associated with less medical errors, improved patient outcomes, and more satisfied patients! Additionally, it also results in less medical malpractice claims and doctors who enjoy doing their job.
How does a doctor learn to empathize? The New York Times reported a new study, which took place at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. In the study researchers enrolled about 100 doctors-in-training and asked the doctors’ patients to evaluate empathy, based on:
(1) the doctor’s ability to make them feel at ease
(2) show care and compassion and
(3) fully understand patient concerns.
About half of the doctors then took part in three one-hour empathy-training sessions.
Two months later, the researchers asked a second group of patients to evaluate all the doctors again. The doctors who had taken the empathy classes showed considerable improvements in their empathetic behavior, while those who did not take the classes actually got worse at empathizing with patients!
How does your doctor rate with empathy? But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.