Patients’ perceptions of physicians’ empathy may affect health outcomes

Professor Stewart W. Mercer, the lead author, said: “This new paper adds to evidence already shown that the outcomes of the consultations are worse in such patients in deprived areas, and that an empathic patient-centred approach leads to better outcomes.”

The paper also demonstrates the “inverse care law,” the principle which holds that the availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served.