A recent article in the New York Times looked at the power of the doctor-patient relationship and how it has a profound effect on the health of the patient. The article is titled “Can a Nice Doctor Make Treatments More Effective?” The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is quite interesting.
Researchers have noted that a simple one sentence reassurance following an allergy skin prick test led patients to report less itchiness when compared to controls. Another study looked at a similar encounter but stepped it up a notch. When the doctor delivered the message with warmth and competence there was a heightened effect when compared with a control. Not only does what the doctor say that matters but also how they say it.
Some of my favorite messages from the article:
- Doctor-patient rapport is not just a fluffy, feel-good bonus that boosts Yelp reviews, but a component of medical care that has important effects on a patient’s physical health.
- The simple things a doctor says and does to connect with patients can make a difference for health outcomes.
I value the relationship with my patients and make it a point to learn more about them than just their current pain complaint. I am generally interested in their lives and it makes each day unique and enjoyable. I have been extremely lucky to have met some incredible people in a little over four years. I look forward to strengthening those relationships and building new ones.
– Jace Peters, DC