The Power of Empathy: The Patient Experience

 

patient

Tell me how much you know of the sufferings of your fellowmen and I will tell you how much you have loved them. Helmut Thielicke

As customers or as patients, we often wish the person attending to us  just had more empathy for our situation. Neuroscience has proven that some people genetically are gifted with the brain wiring for expressing empathy to others, while others do not have this same wiring and thus struggle to demonstrate empathy — even when they really do care. The only way to improve is to increase awareness of those around us and to take on their perspective so that we communicate understanding and concern.

As hospitals and care providers attempt to improve the patient experience, and drive higher HCAHPS scores (patient satisfaction surveys), an expression of genuine empathy by doctors, nurses, and staff is critical. This video by Cleveland Clinic helps health care workers to understand the many emotions or experiences their patients may be having, and all of us to be more aware of those we encounter in any organization. Empathy begins with awareness and perspective taking as this video so well illustrates.

 

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