Training in empathic skills improves the patient physician relationship during the first consultation in a fertility clinic

Capsule:
Training in empathic skills for physicians resulted in higher self-reported patient satisfaction regarding information quality, communication skills, time dedicated, and expertise in patients from different countries accessing infertility treatment.

Authors:
Désirée García, B.S., Olga Bautista, B.S., Laura Venereo, B.S., Oriol Coll, M.D., Ph.D., Rita Vassena, D.V.M., Ph.D., Valérie Vernaeve, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 5, Pages 1413-1418.e1, April 2013

Abstract:

Objective:
To evaluate the effect of physician training in empathic skills on patients’ satisfaction just after their first consultation in a private fertility clinic setting.

Design:
Prospective study.

Setting:
Private fertility clinic.

Patients:
Thirteen physicians were evaluated by 2,146 patients.

Interventions:
The empathic training of physicians was centered on emotional intelligence, communication elements, social styles and empathy, and practical workshops. After their first consultation with the physician patients answered a self-rating questionnaire comprising five scales: information provided, dynamic of the visit, time dedicated, interaction patient physician, and expertise.

Main Outcome Measures:
Patients’ satisfaction scores after the empathic training of physicians.

Results:
For all five scales, the empathic training resulted in a significant change of the global scoring distribution with a shift towards higher scores. The intervention also resulted in a lower likelihood of low scoring (in the lower quartile) for all the items.

Conclusions:
Training in empathic skills of physicians resulted in higher patient satisfaction levels on the perceived information quality, communication skills, time dedicated at first consultation for fertility treatment.

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