Training in empathic skills improves the patient-physician relationship during the first consultation in a fertility clinic

Training in empathic skills for physicians resulted in higher self-reported patient satisfaction regarding information quality, communication skills, time dedicated, and expertise in patients from different countries accessing infertility treatment.


Désirée García, B.S., Olga Bautista, B.S., Laura Venereo, B.S., Oriol Coll, M.D., Ph.D., Rita Vassena, D.V.M., Ph.D., Valérie Vernaeve, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 5, Pages 1413-1418.e1, April 2013



To evaluate the effect of physician training in empathic skills on patients’ satisfaction just after their first consultation in a private fertility clinic setting.


Prospective study.


Private fertility clinic.


Thirteen physicians were evaluated by 2,146 patients.


The empathic training of physicians was centered on emotional intelligence, communication elements, social styles and empathy, and practical workshops. After their first consultation with the physician patients answered a self-rating questionnaire comprising five scales: information provided, dynamic of the visit, time dedicated, interaction patient physician, and expertise.

Main Outcome Measures:

Patients’ satisfaction scores after the empathic training of physicians.


For all five scales, the empathic training resulted in a significant change of the global scoring distribution with a shift towards higher scores. The intervention also resulted in a lower likelihood of low scoring (in the lower quartile) for all the items.


Training in empathic skills of physicians resulted in higher patient satisfaction levels on the perceived information quality, communication skills, time dedicated at first consultation for fertility treatment.

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