Americans were shown to place value on physician-patient relationships and personality with only 11% placing value on accurate diagnosis and treatment. How much time a doctor spends with a patient is very or extremely important to 80% of people. One thing I learned early on was to “sit down and face the patient.” (Pretty basic I know but docs don’t all do this now do they?). This study demonstrated a positive doctor-patient relationship can have statistically significant effects on “hard health outcomes,” including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, pulmonary infections and osteoarthritis pain. The research looked at studies where doctors were randomly assigned either to provide their normal methods of care or to take additional training or steps to provide more empathetic and patient-focused care. dr. jitendra swarup
The additional care made a measurable difference in medical outcomes. I’ll give you a little inside secret; when a doctor sits down and makes eye contact with a patient, he/she ‘perceives’ the visit to be longer, more thorough and feels the doctor has good bedside manner regardless of what is said or what the outcome is. Back when I taught Family Medicine residents, I called this “Bedside 101”. It is a habit all doctors should be required to do and would have a greater impact on outcomes than the most advanced EMR (electronic medical record) software out there. My advice is echoed in research at Johns Hopkins which found doctors in training repeatedly failed to introduce themselves, sit down with patients, or explain what their role is in the patient’s health care treatment. This research was aimed at improved awareness of how doctor-patient interactions can improve patient confidence and compliance with treatment.In another study of 800 recently hospitalized patients and 510 physicians found broad agreement that compassionate care is “very important” to successful medical treatment. However, only 53 percent of patients and 58 percent of physicians said that the health care system generally provides compassionate care.