Patients rank compassion as most important element in healthcare: survey

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A diabetes patient has her pulse checked by a diabetes specialist doctor during a medical check-up at a hospital in Beijing, China March 19, 2012. Reuters/David Gray/File Photo

Patients see compassion as more important than pricing when it comes to ranking doctors, a new report shows. Eighty-five percent of patients said that compassion and the skill to listen carefully are more important to them. On the other hand, 31 percent consider cost as more important.

This is according to a new report by health technology company HealthTap. Amid rising healthcare costs and longer wait times, patients say compassion is the most significant element in today’s healthcare.

Patients were asked about the things that matter most when making a decision related to healthcare. Another important factor for 85 percent of respondents is being knowledgeable (scholarly, up-to-date command of medical knowledge). Wait time only ranked 48 percent in terms of importance.

The survey also indicates that even doctors value the role of compassion in medicine. A majority or 89 percent of doctors said that compassion is a very important part in delivering the best care.

Ninety-four percent of doctors who took part in the study reported that compassion makes patients more likely to follow their advice. As a result, it improves health outcome.

For HealthTap Founder and CEO Ron Gutman, the survey proves that compassion is the most important principle in healthcare. “The greater the role that technology and artificial intelligence play in healthcare, the greater the responsibility that we and other leading technologists have to build machines that value compassion just as much as doctors and patients do,” he said, according to a statement published in Business Wire.

Gutman added that HealthTap takes the responsibility seriously. “By teaching our technology how to practice and learn empathy, and by educating our employees and other stakeholders about the pivotal role compassion has in delivering the best health and care, we’re building a sustainable foundation to enable humans and machines to work in tandem to efficiently help billions everywhere live healthier, happier, and longer lives,” he explained.

HealthTap connects people in 174 countries through video, voice and text chat on any mobile device or personal computer with health advice from a Medical Expert Network of over 108,000 doctors across 147 specialities. International healthcare group Bupa announced last month that it is partnering with HealthTap to develop new healthcare solutions.

The partnership seeks to offer a “game changing combination of digital and in-person healthcare” and will allow Bupa customers to access HealthTap’s health operating system. They will also have access to HealthTap’s AI-driven apps, Digital Health reports.

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