Research at the Empathy and Relational Science Program is ongoing and expanding into aspects of interpersonal interaction at all levels of healthcare
We have an active research program that seeks to integrate the human aspects of interpersonal interaction at all levels of healthcare with the latest research on the neurobiology and physiology of emotion, empathy, and the healing relationship. Recent research projects include:
-- The development and pilot testing of a sophisticated empathy training program that seeks to improve patient outcomes by integrating cutting-edge relational science into the training of healthcare professionals. A preliminary study investigating our training program showed significant improvements in physician empathy.
-- We conducted a larger, multi-site randomized controlled trial, which showed that resident physicians who received our training program were rated by their patients as more empathic than physicians assigned to residency training as usual.
-- We are currently conducting a follow-up study of our training program, which will investigate the long-term stability of improvements in physician empathy. The study will also yield qualitative data from physicians regarding their subjective experiences during the training, and their assessment of the long-term impact of the training on their clinical practices.
-- Members of our group are conducting a systematic literature review of all randomized controlled trials investigating whether communication training of healthcare professionals improves patient outcomes. The purpose of this review is to systematically assess the current state of research evidence for the beneficial effects of communication training. The project will serve as a guide to future research in this area.