MONDAY, July 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Positive patient experiences of practitioner empathy in the year after type 2 diabetes diagnosis can confer long-term benefit, according to a study published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Hajira Dambha-Miller, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a population-based prospective cohort study of 49 general practices, involving a study population of 867 patients with screen-detected type 2 diabetes. Patients were followed for an average of 10 years. Practitioner empathy was assessed 12 months after diagnosis, and experience of diabetes care during the previous year was measured using the consultation and relational empathy (CARE) measure questionnaire.

The researchers note that 19 percent of the 628 participants with a CARE score experienced a cardiovascular disease (CVD) event and 21 percent died during follow-up. Compared with the lowest tertile, higher empathy scores correlated with a lower risk for CVD events in the multivariable model, although this finding did not achieve statistical significance, and a lower risk for all-cause mortality (hazard ratios for middle and highest tertiles, 0.49 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.27 to 0.88, P = 0.01] and 0.60 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.35 to 1.04, P = 0.05], respectively).

“Our findings highlight the value of the human empathetic aspects of health care that also require this same personalized medicine enacted in a different form,” the authors write. “These findings provide some rationale for embedding more empathetic, personalized medicine into preventive strategies.”

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