Doctors Trained in Meditation and Communication Offer Better Care, Study Says

Training physicians in mindfulness meditation and communication skills can improve the quality of care, according to a new study from researchers the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Researchers found both primary care practitioners and their patients believed care was improved after the training, and the findings are published online in the journal “Academic Medicine,” reported.

“Programs focused on personal awareness and self-development are only part of the solution,” the researchers said. “Our health care delivery systems must implement systematic change at the practice level to create an environment that supports mindful practice, encourages transparent and clear communication among clinicians, staff, patients, and families and reduces professional isolation.”

The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 20 of the physicians who participated in the mindfulness-training program.

The findings in the new study include:

  • Sixty percent reported learning mindfulness skills improved their capacity to listen more attentively and respond more effectively to others at work and home.
  • More than half of the participants acknowledged having increased self-awareness and better ability to respond non-judgmentally during personal or professional conversations.
  • Seventy percent placed a high value on the mindfulness course having an organized, structured and well-defined curriculum with time and space to pause and reflect.

The researchers developed and implemented required mindful practice curricula for medical students and residents at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and are also studying the effects of an intensive, four-day residential course for physicians, according to the report.