MedicineWorld.Org
Your gateway to the world of medicine
Home
News
Cancer News
About Us
Cancer
Health Professionals
Patients and public
Contact Us
Disclaimer

Medicineworld.org: Physicians may miss opportunities to respond with empathy

Back to lung cancer blog Blogs list Cancer blog  


Subscribe To Lung Cancer Blog RSS Feed  RSS content feed What is RSS feed?

Physicians may miss opportunities to respond with empathy




In a small study of 20 audiorecorded interactions, physicians seldom responded empathetically to concerns raised by lung cancer patients, as per a report in the September 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.



Physicians may miss opportunities to respond with empathy

"Empathy is an important element of effective communication between patients and physicians and is linked to improved patient satisfaction and compliance with recommended therapy," the authors write as background information in the article. "Patients who are more satisfied with the communication in their medical encounters have improved understanding of their condition, with less anxiety and improved mental functioning." However, responding to patients' emotional needs can be challenging for physicians; they may begin medical school with empathy for their patients but gradually learn detachment, perhaps in order to cope with time constraints or sadness.

Diane S. Morse, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y, and his colleagues conducted an analysis of 20 recorded and transcribed consultations between patients with lung cancer (average age 65, all male) and nine physicians (three oncologists and six thoracic surgeons). Each visit contained an average of 326 statements, and those made by patients were coded into three themes: statements about the impact of lung cancer, statements about diagnosis or therapy and statements about health system issues affecting care.

Throughout the 20 visits, the scientists identified 384 statements by patients that provided opportunities for physicians to offer empathy. These included statements such as "This is kind of overwhelming" and "I'm fighting it." Most oftenin 61 percent of the casesopportunities for empathy were classified as relating to the impact of lung cancer. "Patients' morbidity [illness] and mortality [death] expectations and concerns were the most usually coded empathic opportunity, which hinted at fears, worries and existential concerns and comprised 32 percent of overall empathic opportunities," the authors write.

Physicians responded with empathy to 39 (10 percent) of all 384 opportunities. "Otherwise, physicians provided little emotional support, often shifting to biomedical questions and statements," the authors write. "With a mean [average] of less than two empathic doctor responses per encounter, empathy was an infrequent occurrence." Half of the empathic responses that physicians offered occurred in the last one-third of the encounter, eventhough patients' concerns were raised throughout the visit.

There are several reasons that physicians may not display empathy, the authors note. They may believe there is no time for empathic responses, they may be too busy with other tasks to recognize opportunities for empathy or they may consciously avoid responding empathetically, perhaps believing that biomedical information is reassuring.

"We suggest the use of interval empathy to respond to empathic opportunities offered by patients periodically throughout the encounter, especially in encounters with patients with life-threatening conditions who may be most likely to raise multiple empathic opportunities," the authors write. "Use of this communication skill may allow increased understanding and progressive rapport and trust with patients. Fortunately, studies indicate that expressing empathy can be taught and that these statements can be brief and powerful, not prolonging the encounter or necessarily changing a physician's style".


Posted by: Scott    Source




Did you know?
In a small study of 20 audiorecorded interactions, physicians seldom responded empathetically to concerns raised by lung cancer patients, as per a report in the September 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. "Empathy is an important element of effective communication between patients and physicians and is linked to improved patient satisfaction and compliance with recommended therapy," the authors write as background information in the article. "Patients who are more satisfied with the communication in their medical encounters have improved understanding of their condition, with less anxiety and improved mental functioning." However, responding to patients' emotional needs can be challenging for physicians; they may begin medical school with empathy for their patients but gradually learn detachment, perhaps in order to cope with time constraints or sadness.

Medicineworld.org: Physicians may miss opportunities to respond with empathy

Main Page| Cancer blog| Cancer blogs list| Lung cancer blog| Colon cancer blog| Prostate cancer blog| Breast cancer blog| Diabetes watch blog| Heart watch blog| Allergy blog| Bladder cancer blog| Cervical cancer blog| Colon cancer news blog| Diabetes news blog| Esophageal cancer blog| Gastric cancer blog| Health news blog| Heart news blog| Infectious disease blog| Kidney watch blog| Lung disease blog| Lung cancer news blog| Mesothelioma blog| Neurology blog| Breast cancer news blog| OBGYN blog| Ophthalmology blog| Ovarian cancer blog| Cancer news blog| Pancreas cancer blog| Pediatrics blog| Prostate cancer news blog| Psychology blog| Research blog| Rheumatology blog| Society news blog| Uterine cancer blog| Weight watch blog|

Copyright statement
The contents of this web page are protected. Legal action may follow for reproduction of materials without permission.