What Factors Contribute the Most to Patient-reported Physician Empathy (PRPE) in Advanced Cancer Patients?
1Univ. Lille North of France, Lille, France
2Curie Institute & Paris Descartes University, Paris, France
3Curie Institute & Univ Paris-Sud et Univ Paris Descartes, Paris, France
4Serge Sultan, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada
Background: This study aims at exploring the factors that contribute the most to PRPE in advanced cancer patients. Investigated factors were: physician-reported empathy, patients’ unmet supportive care needs, concordance between patients and physicians on patients’ unmet needs, and patients’ satisfaction with care on various dimensions. Methods: 201 metastatic cancer patients and 28 oncologists participated in the study filling out validated questionnaires. Durations of consultations were also recorded. Multilevel analyses were carried out. Findings: Patients’ psychological unmet needs, physician-reported empathy and concordance were not related to PRPE. Conversely, patients’ unmet needs for more support and information by medical staff strongly lessened PRPE, while the patients’ satisfaction with interpersonal skills and the duration of consultations strongly improved PRPE. Discussion: According to these results, it would not be necessary for oncologists to develop an accurate perception of their patients’ situation or to focus too much on their psychological concerns, as long as they pay attention to provide them with clear information and explicit expression of their support.