A United Kingdom study designed to examine the association between primary care practitioner empathy and incidence of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality among type 2 diabetes patients found that those patients experiencing greater empathy in the year following their diagnosis saw beneficial long-term clinical outcomes.
Using the consultation and relational empathy (CARE) questionnaire, which measures patients' experience of care with a focus on empathy, a numerical score for 628 participants from 49 general practices in East Anglia, UK, was computed 12 months after diagnosis. Those patients reporting better experiences of empathy had a lower risk (40-50%) of all-cause mortality over the subsequent 10 years compared with those reporting low practitioner empathy. While medicine moves increasingly towards precision, target-driven health care and technology-based assessment models, these findings suggest that interpersonal, empathic care may be an important determinant in the risk of mortality.
Dambha-Miller, H. et al. (2019) Association Between Primary Care Practitioner Empathy and Risk of Cardiovascular Events and All-Cause Mortality Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study. Annals of Family Medicine. doi.org/10.1370/afm.2421.