Researcher asks why patients misunderstood

01:21, Feb 24 2014

Feeling well understood after a visit to your GP?

A Massey University researcher is wanting to find out why.

Michael Lane, from the School of Psychology, is calling for willing Palmerston North patients to look at how doctors' behaviour influence their emotions.

Dr Lane will look at a range of interactions to identify what behaviours are important to building doctor-patient partnerships.

"Positive relationships involve partnerships and empathy, and developing these relationships in a 15-minute consultation requires incredible skill," Dr Lane said.

"This study will get the perspective of the patient, and ask the important question of how do doctors form these sensitive partnerships?"


Traditionally, the doctor-patient relationship was paternal, and emotionally detached in nature, but this had changed over time, Dr Lane said.

"Patients increasingly expect partnerships with their doctors and research has shown positive outcomes, for both doctors and patients, from these more empathetic partnerships."

Those type of relationships helped get information from patients, got them sticking to medication and enhanced patients' motivation to make positive changes to their diet, exercise and life.

Research in this area would help doctors match their communication to the motivation level of patients, he said.

For the research, Dr Lane is recruiting 20 patients over the age of 18 from Manawatu to complete an interview about positive experiences with their GP.

Manawatu Standard