(HealthDay News) — Seven behaviors should be implemented to improve the art of medicine, which can help improve relationships with patients, according to an article published in Family Practice Management.

Thomas R. Egnew, EdD, from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, reviewed the literature and delineated 7 behaviors that promote more consistent practice of the interpersonal aspects of medicine.

Egnew describes 7 behaviors that include focusing on the patient, ideally taking a moment to prepare before entering the office, and establishing a connection with the patient, preferably before opening the electronic medical record in the first few minutes of the consultation. Other tips include assessing the patient’s response to illness and suffering, use of communication to foster healing, use of the power of touch, use of humor and laughter, and showing empathy.

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“The behaviors recommended are based on empirical data,” Egnew writes. “They incorporate a patient-centered approach to communicating with patients, which has been shown to improve health outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, and decrease malpractice liability.”


  1. Egnew TR. The Art of Medicine: Seven Skills That Promote Mastery. Fam Pract Manag. 2014 Jul-Aug;21(4):25-30.