More Empathy = Better Outcomes

Patient with Doctor

Higher empathy levels among physicians are tied to a reduction in complications among patients, according to researchers at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Stefano Del Canale, MD, PhD, et al, published the results of a retrospective correlational study that included 20,961 patients with Type I or Type 2 diabetes mellitus and 242 treating primary care physicians. The study, which appeared in Academic Medicine (September 2012), found that patients treated by physicians with the highest scores (112-137) on the Jefferson Scale of Empathy experienced the lowest rates of acute metabolic complications (4.0 per 1,000 patients) when compared to patients treated by physicians with moderate scores (97-111; 7.1 per 1,000 patients) and low scores (49-96; 6.5 per 1,000).

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