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The Nice Doctor

What is it that you look for when choosing a doctor?  Most of us look for qualifications such as: education, how many patients they have seen or their reviews.  But what researchers at Stanford University found is that the more warm and kind a doctor is the better.

Already when a patient goes in for a check-up, they only have 15-20 minutes max with the physician and there is hardly any room for a patient relationship to develop.  By being able to develop a quick and stable relationship with the patient it will also be able to improve their health.

One of the studies at Stanford University, “recruited 76 participants to receive a skin prick test, a common procedure used in assessing allergies. The provider in this study pricked participants’ forearms with histamine, which makes skin itchy and red.”  After that they would send in a physician to examine their forearms where only half would be reassured with kind words and the other half would only be examined with little words exchanged. All the reassured doctor told his patient was, “from this point forward, your allergic reaction will start to diminish, and your rash and irritation will go away.”  It might be a placebo but a simple statement such as that helped alleviate the symptoms.

To prove the placebo, another similar study was performed and along with a warm or dismissive doctor, they administered a “cream” which was just unscented lotion.  Again, the warm and welcoming doctor prevailed by making the placebo cream work.  For those who had the dismissive doctor the cream did not work.

A recent survey of family practitioners conducted in Orange County, CA concluded that physically greeting the patient, IE. shaking hands and offering a seat meant that patients evaluated the experience positively, whilst simultaneously increasing the level of trust the patient placed in the doctor and improving the likelihood patients would diligently follow any advice the doctor provided them.

Most doctors go in and out of their appointments with patients just by asking questions and then only typing on the computer with little interaction.  There are plenty of ways a doctor can interact with patients besides through conversation.  A simple smile, eye contact or using the patients name will work as well.   This research will likely finds its way into new healthcare AI CX programs (Artificial Intelligence Customer Experience software) meant to improve the overall way anyone views a doctor visit.  But, let’s hope doctors don’t lose sight of the key finding.  That physicians should pay more attention to the patients, not less.

It is called healthCARE for a reason.

This article was created by Stephanie Sok, Business Researcher, with assistance from Michael Williams, CEO, Global Healthcare IT, Inc. and the following base line articles: For more on each please click on the link.

Stephanie can be reached on

Michael Williams be reached at