Navigation Links
Patients wonder, 'Could this be something serious?'
Date:12/4/2007

Nearly 4,800 patient surveys and 100 covertly recorded visits by actors posing as patients revealed that empathy is lacking in many exam rooms around the Rochester, N.Y., area however, doctors who do convey empathy are viewed as more trustworthy.

The study, led by Ronald Epstein, M.D., professor of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is published in the December Journal of General Internal Medicine. http://www.springerlink.com/content/fw64033k08136500/?p=dd9c18c8853a44da84328bfeaaf3e5b7&pi=14

Epstein and colleagues observed how doctors responded when patients asked loaded questions indicating worry about symptoms involving chest pain. The study builds on previous work by Epsteins group, in which they have described how good communication between doctors and patients, and a willingness to explore concerns, results in improved health care and lower costs.

An analysis of the doctor-patient interactions showed that doctors voiced empathy in only 15 percent of the office visits, even after repeated prompting by the patients.

I think this study supports the notion that mindfulness is an essential clinical skill, said Epstein, who also directs Rochesters Center to Improve Communications in Health Care. Mindfulness helps the doctor understand the patients world to a sufficient degree, so that no matter what the doctors personal style is, he or she can express empathy.

The research began with 100 consenting doctors (47 family physicians and 53 general internists) in the greater Rochester area in 2001-2002. The doctors agreed to receive two unannounced visits over a one-year period by actors trained to portray patients in a realistic and uniform way. The actors would record the visits without the doctors knowledge. Meanwhile, the research team also collected 10-minute surveys from real adult patients in a variety of doctors waiting rooms. About 96 percent of the all patients approached agreed to take the survey, yielding 4,746 completed questionnaires.

The actors portrayed two roles. They all claimed to be new patients, 48 years old, with chest pain. Some described their pain as characteristic of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), while others presented more ambiguous chest pain, poorly characterized. They all took part in standard, 15-to-20-minute acute visits.

Researchers trained the actors to deliver prompts that might elicit empathy, such as Do you think this could be something serious? Or to say something like, You hear a lot about cancer and heart disease, and I was worried about that.

They used the patient surveys from the waiting rooms and transcripts of the audio-recorded exams to evaluate the doctors responses. Researchers characterized the responses by type, frequency, pattern, and communication style, and correlated them with patient satisfaction ratings. They also looked for signs that doctors doled out empty reassurances, were dismissive, or made statements that served as conversation-stoppers.

The most common physician response was a simple acknowledgement of the symptoms, followed by biomedical questions or medical explanations. Later, some physicians reassured the patients and suggested diagnostic tests, medications, or other treatments. Surprisingly, reassurance from the doctor sometimes increased patient anxiety, the study said.

Patients reported the most satisfaction when doctors empathized with them in challenging situations, such as when the medical answer was not clear-cut, the study said.

Few studies have noted that empathy makes a difference in health care, Epstein said. The research also spotlighted nuances about communication and behavior, such as whether the timing of empathetic statements is important, and how long it takes to voice empathy in the context of a typical office visit.


'/>"/>

Contact: Leslie Orr
Leslie_Orr@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-5774
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Fluctuating eye pressure associated with visual field deterioration in glaucoma patients
2. Comparison of obstetric outcomes between on-call and patients own obstetricians
3. Vision restoration therapy shown to improve brain activity in brain injured patients
4. Diabetes appears to increase risk of death for patients with acute coronary syndromes
5. Ambulatory oxygen rarely a benefit in COPD patients without resting hypoxemia
6. Restricting Blood Flow May Help Heart Bypass Patients
7. Patients with Medicaid and those lacking insurance have higher risk of advanced laryngeal cancer
8. Study provides hope that some transplant patients could live free of antirejection drugs
9. Study provides hope that some transplant patients could live free of anti-rejection drugs
10. Longer ambulance journeys boost death risk for seriously ill patients
11. Expenses Overshadow Optimism for Kidney Failure Patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... First Healthcare ... program management, will showcase a range of technology and learning solutions at the ... Convention and Expo to be held October 14–18, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... meet the demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to ... and tested to meet the highest standard. , These products are also: ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... leader in post-acute health care, have expanded their existing home health joint venture ... , AccentCare has been operating a joint venture home health company with Asante, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... HMP , a leader ... a 2017 Folio Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were ... 11, 2017. , The annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Mich. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... has been named one of Michigan’s 2017 Best and Brightest in Wellness® by ... Brightest in Wellness® awards program on Friday, Oct. 20 from 7:30 a.m. to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... Texas , Oct. 11, 2017  Caris Life ... focused on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine, today ... has joined Caris, Precision Oncology Alliance™ (POA) as its ... cancer centers, the St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute will ... advance the use of tumor profiling, making cancer treatment ...
(Date:10/7/2017)...   Provista, a proven leader in the ... purchasing power, today announced a new resource area on ... is the online home for case studies, articles ... news releases, slideshows and events. ... resources at their fingertips, viewers can also watch short ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, ... 8th Day Software and Consulting, LLC , and named ... 8th Day Software, based in Tennessee , ... 8th Day expands EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health care ... "In an interoperable ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: