The effect of surgeon empathy and emotional intelligence on patient satisfaction

Hui Ching Weng, James F. Steed, Shang Won Yu, Yi Ten Liu, Chia Chang Hsu, Tsan Jung Yu, Wency Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated the associations of surgeons' emotional intelligence and surgeons' empathy with patient-surgeon relationships, patient perceptions of their health, and patient satisfaction before and after surgical procedures. We used multi-source approaches to survey 50 surgeons and their 549 outpatients during initial and follow-up visits. Surgeons' emotional intelligence had a positive effect (r =.45; p <.001) on patient-rated patient-surgeon relationships. Patient-surgeon relationships had a positive impact on patient satisfaction before surgery (r =.95; p <.001). Surgeon empathy did not have an effect on patient-surgeon relationships or patient satisfaction prior to surgery. But after surgery, surgeon empathy appeared to have a significantly positive and indirect effect on patient satisfaction through the mediating effect of patients' self-reported health status (r =.21; p <.001). Our study showed that long-term patient satisfaction with their surgeons is affected less by emotional intelligence than by empathy. Furthermore, empathy indirectly affects patient satisfaction through its positive effect on health outcomes, which have a direct effect on patients' satisfaction with their surgeons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-600
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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