Better outcomes for engaged patients may start with an empathic doctor

Clinician empathy leads to greater patient satisfaction, increased compliance and better outcomes. It boosts job satisfaction for providers.  

It may be particularly helpful in cases of chronic illness; Inone study, patients with diabetes had measurably better outcomes when their doctors scored higher on the Jefferson Scale of Empathy, a tool that measures patients’ perceptions of physician caring. A recent systemic review and meta-analysis concluded that the patient-physician relationship had a small but measurable effect on patient health outcomes.

Yet with so many patients seen in limited time increments, and the increasing specialization of medicine, how can doctors get – and remain – empathetic?


If you can learn empathic behaviors and

be respectful and kind, that’s really what

the patient is going to remember at the

end of the day,” Riess says.