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Clinical empathy’s emotional and financial rewards




The Washington Post reports on “Oncotalk,”  developed by medical faculty at Duke, the University of Pittsburgh and several other medical schools and part of  a ”burgeoning effort to teach doctors an essential but often overlooked skill: clinical empathy….{C}linical empathy is the ability to stand in a patient’s shoes and to convey an understanding of the patient’s situation as well as the desire to help.”

{”A} spate of studies in the past decade has found that it is no mere frill. Increasingly, empathy is considered essential to establishing trust, the foundation of a good doctor-patient relationship.

”Studies have linked empathy to greater patient satisfaction, better outcomes, decreased physician burnout and a lower risk of malpractice suits and errors. Beginning this year, the Medical College Admission Test will contain questions involving human behavior and psychology, a recognition that being a good doctor ‘requires an understanding of people,’ not just science, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges.”

Further, “Patient satisfaction scores are now being used to calculate Medicare reimbursement under the Affordable Care Act. And more than 70 percent of hospitals and health networks are using patient satisfaction scores in physician compensation decisions.”




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