A social neuroscience perspective could increase empathy in physicians, enhance patient care

In the October issue of World Psychiatry, neuroscientists and UC Berkeley psychiatrist Jodi Halpern contribute a perspective on the need for increased research on the components of empathy, in order to develop interventions and programs designed to increase the levels of empathy in clinical practice.

According to the article, clinical empathy is increasingly being seen as an important element of quality health care, and has been associated with improved patient satisfaction, increased adherence to treatment, and fewer malpractice complaints.

As well, for doctors, higher levels of empathy have led to decreased burnout, personal distress, depression, and anxiety, along with increased life satisfaction and psychological well-being.

By Amabelle Ocampo