Patients with chronic pain value empathic doctors who validate concerns and communicate clearly
Researchers measured the associations among process, outcomes and patient satisfaction within general medical care for chronic low back pain, provided through an ongoing patient-physician relationship. They also used two models to measure factors associated with patient satisfaction, including studying a subgroup of participants experiencing chronic low back pain who were being treated by the same physician for more than five years.
Among 1,352 participants, only physician empathy and physician communication were associated with patient satisfaction in the multivariable analysis that controlled for potential confounders. Similarly, in the subgroup of 355 participants, physician empathy and physician communication remained linked to patient satisfaction in the multivariable analysis.
Physician empathy and physician communication were strongly associated with patient satisfaction with medical care for chronic low back pain. Researchers argue that patients with chronic pain highly value physicians who are empathic and who make efforts to more clearly communicate treatment plans and expectations.
What is Known on This Topic: Despite medical advances in managing chronic pain experienced by millions of Americans, little research has been conducted on how patient-physician interaction impacts the process of delivering medical care for chronic low back pain and, ultimately, patient satisfaction.
What This Study Adds: Patients with chronic pain highly value empathic physicians who validate their concerns and often ill-defined symptoms, as well as physicians who make efforts to more clearly communicate treatment plans and expectations to patients.
Patient Satisfaction With Medical Care for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Pain Research Registry Study
John C. Licciardone, DO, MS, MBA, et al,
University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas