Association between emergency physician self-reported empathy and patient satisfaction

Hao Wang, Jeffrey A. Kline, Bradford E. Jackson, Jessica Laureano-Phillips, Richard D. Robinson, Chad D. Cowden, James P. d’Etienne, Steven E. Arze, Nestor R. Zenarosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Higher physician self-reported empathy has been associated with higher overall patient satisfaction. However, more evidence-based research is needed to determine such association in an emergent care setting. Objective To evaluate the association between physician self-reported empathy and after-care instant patient-to-provider satisfaction among Emergency Department (ED) healthcare providers with varying years of medical practice experience. Research design A prospective observational study conducted in a tertiary care hospital ED. Methods Forty-one providers interacted with 1,308 patients across 1,572 encounters from July 1 through October 31, 2016. The Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE) was used to assess provider empathy. An after-care instant patient satisfaction survey, with questionnaires regarding patient-to-provider satisfaction specifically, was conducted prior to the patient moving out of the ED. The relation between physician empathy and patient satisfaction was estimated using risk ratios (RR) and their corresponding 95% confidence limits (CL) from log-binomial regression models. Results Emergency Medicine (EM) residents had the lowest JSE scores (median 111; interquartile range [IQR]: 107–122) and senior physicians had the highest scores (median 119.5; IQR: 111–129). Similarly, EM residents had the lowest percentage of “very satisfied” responses (65%) and senior physicians had the highest reported percentage of “very satisfied” responses (69%). There was a modest positive association between JSE and satisfaction (RR = 1.04; 95% CL: 1.00, 1.07). Conclusion This study provides evidence of a positive association between ED provider self-reported empathy and after-care instant patient-to-provider satisfaction. Overall higher empathy scores were associated with higher patient satisfaction, though minor heterogeneity occurred between different provider characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0204113
JournalPloS one
Volume13
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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    Wang, H., Kline, J. A., Jackson, B. E., Laureano-Phillips, J., Robinson, R. D., Cowden, C. D., d’Etienne, J. P., Arze, S. E., & Zenarosa, N. R. (2018). Association between emergency physician self-reported empathy and patient satisfaction. PloS one, 13(9), [e0204113]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0204113