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J Patient Exp


Empathy is the cornerstone of the patient-physician relationship and is consistently ranked by patients as one of the most important factors in the quality of their care. In this paper we examine the degree to which perceived physician empathy is associated with the characteristics of the caregiver (parent or legal guardian) and physician in pediatric orthopedic surgery. This was a cross-sectional survey study of 200 English-speaking caregivers of pediatric patients at a large children's hospital. The Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) Measure was used to measure perceived physician empathy. Only if the caregiver felt carefully listened to by the physician (p-value < 0.001), and if the physician showed respect for what the caregiver had to say (p-value = 0.007) were statistically significant and positively associated with perceived physician empathy. The most significant determinant of perceived physician empathy is whether the caregiver felt listened to during the encounter. Other factors such as caregiver demographics, health literacy, self-rated mental health, wait time, and time spent with the physician do not significantly affect perceived physician empathy.

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