In the age of the internet, it’s easier than ever to pull together lots of information to find the best doctor. And if you’re like most patients, the metric you probably rely on most is the doctor’s credentials. Where did she go to school? How many patients has he treated with this condition?
You might also read some Yelp reviews about how nice this doctor is; how friendly and how caring. But all that probably seems secondary to the doctor’s skills; sure, it would be great to have a doctor whom you actually like, but that’s not going to influence your health the way the doctor’s competence will.
But our research in the psychology department at Stanford University suggests that this view is mistaken. We found that having a doctor who is warm and reassuring actually improves your health.
The simple things a doctor says and does to connect with patients can make a difference for health outcomes.
Even a brief reassurance to a patient from a doctor might relieve the patient’s symptoms faster. In a recent study that one of us conducted, our research group 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.
Read the whole story: The New York Times