Patient Perception of Empathy from Emergency Medicine Residents


  • Max Ofoma, MS Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Katie Pettit, MD Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine



Background and Hypothesis: This project analyzes the effect of years of training and gender of ED providers on patients’ perception of empathy from them. The project will also explore how patient characteristics may impact the patients’ perception of empathy from the ED providers. 

It is expected that women providers in their third year of training will exhibit higher scores of empathy. It has been previously demonstrated that white women with a college education have the worst perceptions of empathy from their ED providers. 

Experimental Design or Project Methods: Eligible patients from Eskenazi/Methodist Hospital, who have had a CT scan ordered, will be enrolled via convenience sample. Patient perceptions of physician empathy will be assessed via the “Empathy Behavior Survey for Patients” (EBS) and “Jefferson Scale of Patient Perceptions of Physician Empathy” (JSPPPE). Patient demographic data and information about the provider ordering the CT scan will be recorded as well.  

Results: On the EBS/JSPPE, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year residents were given scores of 51/31.5, 51/31, and 51.5/33 respectively. Male residents were given a median score of 51 on the EBS and 32 on the JSPPPE. Female residents were given a median score of 50.5 and 31 on the JSPPPE. White female patients with a college education gave a score of 50.5 on the EBS and a 32.5 on the JSPPPE. 

Conclusion and Potential Impact: Years of training or gender do not seem to have an impact on patient perception of empathy nor do White female patients with a college education.