FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- A doctor's empathy can
improve the care of diabetes patients and should be considered an
important part of being a good doctor, according to a new
The study included 891 diabetes patients treated between July
2006 and June 2009 by 29 doctors at Thomas Jefferson University
Hospital in Philadelphia. The researchers assessed the doctors'
level of empathy for patients, while the quality of patient care
was determined by an LDL ("bad") cholesterol test and a hemoglobin
A1C test for blood glucose levels.
Patients whose doctors had high empathy scores were more likely
to have good control of their blood sugar and low LDL cholesterol
levels than patients whose doctors had low empathy scores.
The results indicate that empathy on the part of doctors can
contribute to patient satisfaction, trust and compliance with
"Our results show that physicians with high empathy scores had better clinical outcomes than other physicians with lower scores," study author Mohammadreza Hojat, research professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Jefferson Medical College, said in a university news release.
"These findings, if confirmed by larger scale research, suggest that empathy should be viewed as an integral component of a physician's competence," he concluded.
The study is in the March issue of the journal
The American College of Physicians has more about
living with diabetes.