How do Israelis view empathic physician-patient communication style?

Ted Miller, Diane Morse, Amnon Lahad, Ruth Kannai, Hannah Kedar, Dorith Shaham

Research output: Working paper/preprintWorking paper


This study measured the importance attributed to empathy by Israeli physicians and medical students. Participating physicians and students viewed one of two videotaped consultations in which one actor simulated an empathic or a nonempathic physician and a second actor simulated a patient. The participants then completed a two-part questionnaire; Part A related to ten characteristics of the physician in the consultation, plus a single global assessment of the physician's performance, and Part B related to the importance the participants attributed to those same ten characteristics for medical consultations in general. Six of the ten characteristics were derived from an abridged, Hebrew-language version of the Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) questionnaire. The remaining four characteristics embedded in the questionnaire related to clinical competence and knowledge. The physicians and students both attributed high importance to empathy in medical consultations in general. Both physicians and medical students consistently rated the empathy component of the empathic physician's behaviour as higher than that of the nonempathic physician. They also gave the empathic physician a significantly higher score for overall performance than they gave the nonempathic physician, which is consistent with their declared attitudes. Nonempathy-related competencies were rated slightly more important than empathy The abridged, Hebrew version of the CARE questionnaire appears to be a valid tool for examining empathy in Israel. Future research in Israel may use this questionnaire to study the impact of empathy on a broad range of clinical and other outcomes.
Original languageAmerican English
Place of PublicationOxfordshire
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
StatePublished - 2009


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