Physician empathy builds trust and a sense of safety in patients. It could determine whether or not patients feel that they are being heard and understood, overall patient satisfaction and adherence to treatment. It is necessary that medical training emphasizes it.

“Some patients, though conscious that their condition is perilous, recover their health simply through their contentment with the goodness of the physician”.

Hippocrates 460-380 BC

However the relational aspects of care like physician empathy typically receive less attention than the more traditional diagnostics related metrics. Recent studies have demonstrated a decline in empathy that persists beyond medical education and training [1]. Physician empathy is mandated as a learning objective in many of countries and medical training programmes (e.g., general practitioner specialisation programs in Belgium and the Netherlands, medical school education by the Association of American Medical Colleges, etc). Most importantly, empathic communication skills are associated with not only improved patient satisfaction [2], but also better outcomes and even decreased burnouts in physicians [3].

Empathy is especially important in difficult conversations where bad news has to be delivered.

Videolab allows caregivers to ask and receive feedback relevant for soft skills from peers and trainers, (physician empathy included). Videolab to soft skills by using various methods ranging from free text to time-annotated fragments to pinpoint the patient consult.

“Researchers from the Department of Public Health and Primary Care of the KULeuven have found that by using Videolab 85% of the trainees reported professional attitude and non-verbal skills improvements.”

Time-specific annotations

Users can add time-specific annotations to each video by selecting amongst a set of sentiments (Positive, Neutral, Negative) characterizing the annotation. Additionally, a free comment text allows one to provide further feedback perhaps providing an explanation regarding the sentiment. This, for example, could include comments on how the subject (trainee) might have better expressed physician empathy.

Systematic feedback

Videolab features a more systematic feedback mechanism with a pre-defined set of evaluation criteria. Official forms, such as the MAAS 2.0 are supported out of the box with easy customization mechanisms.

Videolab administrative section allows the full management of feedback forms including custom reporting.

video sharing to evaluate physician empathy
written evaluation on physician empathy

Overall feedback

Similar to the time-specific annotations one may provide more overall textual feedback to each video.

Free discussion

Users can easily start a discussion for all of the above-mentioned feedback mechanisms.

example evaluation form

[1] Bellini, L. M., & Shea, J. A. (2005). Mood Change and Empathy Decline Persist during Three Years of Internal Medicine Training. Academic Medicine, 80(2), 164–167. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200502000-00013

[2] Hojat, M., Louis, D. Z., Markham, F. W., Wender, R., Rabinowitz, C., & Gonnella, J. S. (2011). Physiciansʼ Empathy and Clinical Outcomes for Diabetic Patients. Academic Medicine, 86(3), 359–364. doi: 10.1097/acm.0b013e3182086fe1

[3] Krasner, M. S. (2009). Association of an Educational Program in Mindful Communication With Burnout, Empathy, and Attitudes Among Primary Care Physicians. Jama, 302(12), 1284. doi: 10.1001/jama.2009.1384