a nicer doctor give better treatments

Does a nicer doctor give better treatments?


Have you had the experience of going to a doctor who spends more time looking at his computer than at you? And maybe he is not very communicative, friendly, or reassuring? Hopefully though you have had other, better experiences as well. A doctor who looks at you, listens to your concerns, and explains what is going on.

As in all professions, doctors have different styles and personalities. But remember, if you judge a doctor on one visit, he may be off on a certain day because he has been up all night at the hospital, or has a sick patient he is concerned about. But still, some doctors are just nicer than others. The question is: does that make a difference in how effective is your medical treatment?

Some people put up with an unfriendly doctor because he is known as one of the best in his specialty. But still, the ideal doctor is highly competent and at the same time friendly, communicative, and reassuring.

Research on nice vs. less nice doctors

Psychologists at Stanford University (California) were interested to know if a doctor who is nicer is more likely to deliver better therapeutic results for his patients.  They devised a simple experiment, and recruited 76 patients for the study. 

Each patient received a “skin prick test” where they received a small prick on the forearm, and they were told that this was to see if they had an allergy to the substance. Actually, what they received in the prick was a tiny dose of histamine, which always results in a temporary itchy red spot.  

A few minutes after the prick, when the patient was itching, a doctor came to examine their forearm. For some of the patients, the doctor looked at their arm but didn’t say anything substantial. For other patients, the doctor said this one simple sentence after looking at their forearm “From this point on, your allergic reaction will start to diminish, and your rash and irritation will go away.”

Words of reassurance were powerful

The results showed that the patients who heard just that one simple sentence reported that their reactions were less irritating and itchy than the patients who did not hear any words of reassurance from the doctor. 

The Stanford psychologists performed another, more elaborate experiment that showed how the placebo effect is enhanced if a doctor is warmer and seems more competent. We will discuss that study in a later post on the power of the placebo.

For doctors and patients

This simple research shows that doctors who give even a minimal level of warmth and reassurance results in a  patient who feels better and less sick. 

You can find a doctor who is both competent and warm. On our website procuramed.com, we encourage feedback and comments regarding doctors. However, probably the best way to find a competent and warm doctor is to get a referral from a friend or family member who has seen that doctor. But if you don’t have that information available to you, you might consult procuramed.com, and look for doctors who have been recommended by other patients and/or have positive comments from other patients. 

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website: www.Procuramed.com.

See also in ProcuraMed:

“Word-of-mouth” doctor referrals have shifted to online

How to self-monitor your blood pressure at home

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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