A study presented today at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), links patient-perceived physician empathy with improved outcomes and medical care satisfaction.
In the study, 112 new patients (mean age 51) at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery rated personal interaction with their hand surgeon. In addition, patients completed a health literacy test, provided sociodemographic information, and answered questions about pain, upper extremity function and depression.
Sixty-five percent of patient satisfaction was attributed to physician empathy, according to the study. Satisfaction was not affected by wait time for an appointment, wait time in the office, time with the surgeon, resident/fellow involvement, whether or not patients were seeking a second opinion, health literacy, or treatment choice.