J Patient Exp. 2021 Feb 25;8:2374373521996981. doi: 10.1177/2374373521996981. eCollection 2021.
Emergency physician empathy and communication is increasingly important and influences patient satisfaction. This study investigated if there is a need for improvement in provider empathy and communication in our emergency department and what areas could be targeted for future improvement. Patients cared for by emergency physicians with the lowest satisfaction scores were surveyed within 1 week of discharge. Patients rated their emergency provider's empathy and communication and provided feedback on the patient-provider interaction. Compared to survey responses nationally, our providers fell between the 10th and 25th percentiles for all questions, except question 5 (making a plan of action with [the patient]) which was between the 5th and 10th percentile. Areas most frequently cited for improvement were "wanting to know why" (N = 30), "time is short" (N = 15), and "listen to the patient" (N = 13). Survey percentiles and open-ended suggestions demonstrate a need for providers to give thorough explanations, spend more time with the patient, and demonstrate active listening. These themes can be used to strengthen the provider-patient relationship.