Posted on Apr 12, 2014

A doctor’s ability to treat you is not limited to his medical expertise. Studies show that his/her bedside manners also affect your health.

CBS news reports on the importance of a doctor's demeanor and friendly decorum.

New reports show that patients’ ability to lower their blood pressure, lose weight and manage pain are directly correlated with their doctor’s bedside manner. Those with amiable doctors did much better health wise, especially in these areas.

Researchers conducted thirteen clinical trials before coming to this conclusion. “Experts said the findings, reported online April 9 in the journal PLOS One, show that the doctor-patient relationship can have an impact on people's health. The effects in these studies were small, but still ‘impressive’ said Dr. Christensen, a professor of psychology at the University of Iowa,” according to CBS.

Many objective experts in the field have commented on the study.

CBS reports, “Christensen, who was not involved in the research, studies the issue of health care provider-patient relationships. He pointed out that many of the training programs in the studies included in the new review focused on fairly ‘general’ skills -- such as maintaining eye contact with patients, and listening without interrupting. So it's encouraging to see that these training programs translate into specific health benefits at all, according to Christensen. ‘It's important to be able to demonstrate that clinicians can learn to change how they interact with patients, and that it affects health outcomes,’ he said.”

The physician who led the study explained why it was important, "I think that intuitively, people think that if you have an open, caring relationship with your provider, that's beneficial." The studied showed that all patients who had cordial physicians at their bedside improved in their health conditions faster than patients who did not have this kind of a relationship.

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Gerry Oginski
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