Thursday, 1 November 2012

Further evidence of the power of empathy

The Sunday Times Style ran a short article this week about the power of empathy - only a paragraph hidden among other articles but very interesting none-the-less. Apparently the more empathetic your doctor the less complications of your condition you are likely to have. The study wasn't directly referenced (and I am yet tofind it on-line) but was on 20,000 Italians with diabetes. The patients with highly empathetic doctors had about two-thirds of the complications of those who's doctors scored lower for empathy. The rating of empathy may have incorporated other factors but the headline of the study is certainly interesting and suggests the power of empathy.

What excites me about this new trend in patient experience research is the relation of experience/emotions to hard and fast clinical outcomes - the things people measure and base commissioning and clinical decisions on! Instead of being discounted as "soft", the experience of patients is finally being seen as something that is note just a nice bonus but central to the medical aims of improving people's health.

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