Some doctors consistently get better results when they treat patients even when they dish out the same treatments as their colleagues. The reason: Research shows that doctors with a particular personality trait may be more successful at combating disease.
The necessary personality characteristic: empathy.
A study published in Academic Medicine shows that empathetic doctors produce more desirable clinical outcomes in people with diabetes.
“Results of this study confirmed our hypothesis that a validated measure of physician empathy is significantly associated with the incidence of acute metabolic complications in diabetic patients, and provide the much-needed, additional empirical support for the beneficial effects of empathy in patient care,” says researcher Dr. Mohammadreza Hojat. “These findings also support the recommendations of such professional organizations as the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Board of Internal Medicine of the importance of assessing and enhancing empathic skills in undergraduate and graduate medical education.”