Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Doctors have become less empathetic, but is it their fault?

By David Scales
Aeon Magazine
Originally posted July 4, 2016

Here is an excerpt:

The key resides in the nature of clinical empathy, which requires that the practitioner be truly present. That medical professional must be curious enough to cognitively and emotionally relate to a patient’s situation, perspective and feelings, and then communicate this understanding back to the patient.

At times, empathy’s impact seems more magical than biological. When empathy scores are higher, patients recover faster from the common cold, diabetics have better blood-sugar control, people adhere more closely to treatment regimens, and patients feel more enabled to tackle their illnesses. Empathetic physicians report higher personal wellbeing and are sued less often.

If the case for empathy is clear, the way to boost it remains murky indeed. New research shows that meditation and ‘mindful communication’ can increase a physician’s empathy, spawning a niche industry of training courses. Yet this preoccupation has missed the glaring deficits in the work environment, which squelch the human empathy that doctors possess.

The article is here.