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The nicer the doctor, the better the patient outcome

Patients with more sympathetic, understanding doctors have better outcomes and fewer complications, new research suggests.


By measuring a doctor’s understanding of a patient’s concerns, pain, suffering and intention to help, researchers found a link between diabetic patients’ outcomes and their physicians.


A large study done by a team from Thomas Jefferson University along with Italian researchers evaluated the relationships among 20,961 people with diabetes and 242 doctors in Parma, Italy.


Mohammadreza Hojat, a psychiatry professor at Jefferson Medical College (JMC)said: “This research study has confirmed that empathic physician-patient relationships are an important factor in positive outcomes.


“It takes our hypothesis one step further. Compared to our initial study, it has a much larger number of patients and physicians, a different tangible clinical outcome, hospital admission for acute metabolic complications, and a cross-cultural feature that will allow for generalisation of the findings in various cultures and health care systems.”


Researchers used the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE) which measures the level of empathy in the context of patient care, and the results of two medical tests, the haemoglobin A1c (blood) test and cholesterol levels measurements.


The study found a direct association between a physician’s JSE and a better control of their patient’s medical results.

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