Objective: To examine whether an educational intervention that focused on physician communication training influenced physician empathic expression during patient interactions.
Methods: This study used a quantitative research method to investigate the influence of communication training on physician-expressed empathy using two measures (global and hierarchical) of physician empathic behavior.
Results: The differences in global empathy scores in the physician training group from baseline to follow-up improved by 37%, and hierarchical scores of physician empathic expression improved by up to 51% from baseline scores for the same group.
Conclusions: The results strongly supported the hypotheses that training made a significant difference in physician empathic expression during patient interactions demonstrated by both outside observer measures of global ratings and hierarchical ratings of physician empathic behavior.
Practice implications: These findings have significant implications for program design and development in medical education and professional training with the potential to improve patient outcomes.