The effects of physician empathy on patient satisfaction and compliance

Eval Health Prof. 2004 Sep;27(3):237-51. doi: 10.1177/0163278704267037.


The present study attempted to develop new scales of patient-perceived, empathy-related constructs and to test a model of the relationships of physician empathy and related constructs to patient satisfaction and compliance. Five hundred fifty outpatients at a large university hospital in Korea were interviewed with the questionnaire. The data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Patient-perceived physician empathy significantly influenced patient satisfaction and compliance via the mediating factors of information exchange, perceived expertise, inter-personal trust, and partnership. Improving physician empathic communication skills should increase patient satisfaction and compliance. Health providers who wish to improve patient satisfaction and compliance should first identify components of their empathic communication needing improvement and then try to refine their skills to better serve patients.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Empathy*
  • Humans
  • Korea
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires