Researchers Hope to Create a Behavioral Taxonomy to Guide Medical Training

Researchers Hope to Create a Behavioral Taxonomy to Guide Medical Training

Researchers are on tenterhooks to produce a behavioral catalog which would be emotionally helpful for patients and make doctors compassionate while dealing with them. The catalog will guide medical training and education by breaking down the discourse and analyzing the context.

As many as 23 oncologists has been employed by senior investigator Ronald Epstein, M.D., professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Oncology, and Nursing and director of the UR Center for Communication and Disparities Research and his team. These 23 oncologists were from a range of private and hospital-based oncology clinics in the Rochester, New York area.

The doctors and their stage III or stage IV cancer patients volunteered to be traced at the time of their regular appointments. Then, the researchers studied the 49 audio-recorded encounters that occurred between November 2011 and June 2012 and searched for key evident markers of concern.

In comparison to empathy, compassion involves a deeper and more active thought of the patient's condition. As a part of the study, identification of suffering, emotional resonance and progress towards addressing suffering were studied.

Non-verbal communication, such as pauses or sighs at suitable times, speech features and voice quality i.e. tone, pitch, loudness, were also studied. These feature revealed regarding certain attitudes and meaning. In the past studies as well, it has been pointed out that impact of emotional connect of doctors with patients is very important.

As per the study, “It became apparent that compassion was not a quality of a single utterance but rather is made up of presence and engagement that suffuses an entire conversation”. The latest Study has been published in the journal Health Expectations.


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