Improving Physician Mindfulness May Increase Patient Satisfaction
Compared with other physicians, those who are highly mindful have patients who are more satisfied, according to a study in the Annals of Family Medicine.
Mindfulness is "purposeful and nonjudgmental attentiveness to one's own experience, thoughts and feelings," according to the study. Researchers observed 45 clinicians caring for patients with HIV. Physician-patient conversations were coded for quality and patients rated their care.
Physicians who were in the top third of mindfulness scores based on a survey had higher-quality conversations with patients than physicians in the bottom third of mindfulness scores. Specifically, high-mindfulness physicians' conversations were more likely to have a patient-centered pattern, meaning both patients and physicians discussed issues. These physicians also had a more positive emotional tone with patients than did low-mindfulness physicians, according to the study.
In addition, physicians with high mindfulness scores had more patients rate clinician communication highly and give high overall satisfaction ratings than physicians with low mindfulness scores.
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