Previous research associated the ability to empathize with a patient's situation to a myriad of beneficial health related outcomes, including more satisfied patients and better patient outcomes, fewer medical errors and malpractice claims, and happier doctors. New research, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, suggests empathy can be taught to health care professionals. In this new study, physicians of various disciplines were randomized to receive either standard medical education or a program supplemented with education geared towards increasing their empathy skills. Patients provided pre and post- education ratings on the physicians' level of empathy, with results showing an increase in the level of empathy in the supplemental educational group.
Has your hospital and/or medical training included courses in empathy skills? Has this training benefited your practice?