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July 06, 2006

To sit or not to sit?

Allan Chochinov, editor of Core77, drew my attention to a remarkably cheap - in fact, free - way to increase patient satisfaction in hospitals. According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, patients perceive that health providers (their term) who sit during an evaluation "are their bedside for longer than those who stand - - for the same amount of time". This correlates with numerous studies demonstrating that time is a key indicator of patient satisfaction in health contexts around the world. Having someone just listen to you for five minutes makes most people that I know feel better. Some clinicians get very worked up on this topic: they argue that perceptions of care quality do not always correspond with actual care care quality. This may be true, but I'm confused: does it matter?

Posted by John Thackara at July 6, 2006 06:47 AM

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