Research shows that doctors who offer empathic and positive messages can reduce a patient’s pain, improve their recovery after surgery, and lower the amount of morphine they need. But it doesn’t mean that telling a patient something simple, such as “this drug will make you feel better,” will have an effect. It’s more complicated than that, as our latest research shows.
Positive messages are usually repeated, definite, specific, and personal. They should also be communicated by an authority figure who shows empathy (see graphic below). While our study does not identify what the most effective components of a positive message are (the sample was too small), the results imply that, for example, a positive message that is not specific or personalized and is delivered by a doctor perceived to lack authority and empathy, will not have the desired effect.
What does all this mean for digitally assisted consultations ranging from