Research has shown that patients generally do better when physicians are empathetic. While we teach doctors how to diagnose and treat diseases and injuries, do we teach them how to be compassionate?
At Jefferson, medical students are being taught empathy and the importance of empathy in patient outcomes. And research professor Mohammadreza Hojat, PhD, of Thomas Jefferson University recently spoke with WHYY’s “The Pulse” about his method of incorporating physician empathy into the medical school curriculum.
Dr. Hojat developed the Jefferson Scale of Empathy, which measures empathy in physicians and students through a series of questions. He has also developed lectures around empathy. For example, Dr. Hojat’s class will view and discuss scenes from movies that illuminate the patient’s perspective and discuss the physicians conduct in the clip.
“We have shown that patients who are treated by empathic physicians are better off,” said Dr. Hojat.
Dr. Hojat suggests that in order to produce empathetic physicians, professors must continually teach empathy in lectures.