Information to the Public

Here are the seven traits listed by the patients, along with the patients' definitions of those traits:

  • Confident: "The doctor's confidence gives me confidence."
  • Empathetic: "The doctor tries to understand what I am feeling and experiencing, physically and emotionally, and communicates that understanding to me."
  • Humane: "The doctor is caring, compassionate, and kind."
  • Personal: "The doctor is interested in me more than just as a patient, interacts with me, and remembers me as an individual."
  • Forthright: "The doctor tells me what I need to know in plain language and in a forthright manner."
  • Respectful: "The doctor takes my input seriously and works with me."
  • Thorough: "The doctor is conscientious and persistent."

That list isn't in any particular order. The researchers didn't check whether confidence was more important to patients than respectful treatment, for instance. The Mayo Foundation funded the study.
One patient put it this way in the study:

"We want doctors who can empathize and understand our needs as a whole person. ... We want to feel that our doctors have incredible knowledge in their field. But every doctor needs to know how to apply their knowledge with wisdom and relate to us as plain folks who are capable of understanding our disease and treatment."
     It's natural for patients to want caring caregivers. He drafted a list of seven traits that are the opposite of those mentioned in the study:

  • Timid
  • Uncaring
  • Misleading
  • Cold
  • Callous
  • Disrespectful
  • Hurried

"Can healthcare really ever be high quality if the patient-physician interaction is hurried, disrespectful, cold, callous, or uncaring?"