Abstract

Purpose: To assess whether perspective-taking, which researchers in other fields have shown to induce empathy, improves patient satisfaction in encounters between student–clinicians and standardized patients (SPs).

Method: In three studies, randomly assigned students (N = 608) received either a perspective-taking instruction or a neutral instruction prior to a clinical skills examination in 2006–2007. SP satisfaction was the main outcome in all three studies. Study 1 involved 245 third-year medical students from two universities. Studies 2 and 3 extended Study 1 to examine generalizability across student and SP subpopulations. Study 2 (105 physician assistant students, one university) explored the effect of perspective-taking on African American SPs' satisfaction. Study 3 (258 third-year medical students, two universities) examined the intervention's effect on students with high and low baseline perspective-taking tendencies.

Results: Intervention students outscored controls in patient satisfaction in all studies: Study 1: P = .01, standardized effect size = 0.16; Study 2: P = .001, standardized effect size = 0.31; Study 3: P = .009, standardized effect size = 0.13. In Study 2, perspective-taking improved African American SPs' satisfaction. In Study 3, intervention students with high baseline perspective-taking tendencies outscored controls (P = .0004, standardized effect size = 0.25), whereas those with low perspective-taking tendencies did not (P = .72, standardized effect size = 0.00).

Conclusions: Perspective-taking increased patient satisfaction in all three studies, across medical schools, clinical disciplines, and racially diverse students and SPs. Perspective-taking as a means for improving patient satisfaction deserves further exploration in clinical training and practice.

Authors
B. Blatt, S. LeLacheur, Adam Galinsky, S. Simmens, and L. Greenberg
Format
Journal Article
Publication Date
Journal
Academic Medicine

Full Citation

Blatt, B., S. LeLacheur, Adam Galinsky, S. Simmens, and L. Greenberg
. “Does perspective-taking increase patient satisfaction in medical encounters?”
Academic Medicine
vol.
85
, (January 01, 2010):
1445
-
1452
.