In virtual care, bedside manner matters

Written by:
Dr. Geoffrey W. Rutledge
Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder
Last updated on January 3, 2022

Good physician communication skills rank high among surveyed patients

HealthTap doctors have long known that one of the most effective ways to build strong rapport with patients is to begin each visit by carefully listening to their questions and concerns. Now, a patient satisfaction study has confirmed the importance of great bedside manner during virtual visits.

The study surveyed 440 telemedicine patients to examine patient satisfaction in four areas:

  1. Patient-centered care (i.e., bedside manner), such as showing empathy and compassion, and communicating assurance .

  2. Patient perceptions of the health benefits of the care received.

  3. Monetary costs.

  4. Non-monetary costs.

The study found that bedside manner was the leading factor in patient satisfaction, demonstrating the strong value people place on their doctor’s communication skills. Notably, the costs of the visit did not have a significant effect on patient satisfaction. 

These findings underscore what HealthTap has known all along: During virtual consultations, a doctor who actively listens to patients, takes time to answer questions, and validates their concerns will build a stronger doctor-patient relationship, which can lead to better health outcomes.

As virtual care grows in popularity, it’s reassuring that bedside manner — the foundation of people’s relationships with their doctors — has such a powerful impact on creating a positive care experience for the patient.

Dr. Geoffrey W. Rutledge

Dr. Geoffrey W. Rutledge

Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder
Geoffrey W. Rutledge MD, PhD, FACMI, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder at HealthTap, is a double-board certified physician who practiced and taught medicine for more than 25 years. He earned a PhD in medical computer science from Stanford, was an NIH-funded researcher, and served on faculty at Harvard, Stanford, and UCSD medical schools. Before HealthTap, he created the first consumer health website and PHR at Healtheon/WebMD. Learn more about HealthTap's Medical Editorial Board at

More articles in Doctor Insights

Doctor Insights

Reevaluating our understanding of comorbidities and risk factors

This article by Harold Kennedy, MD, examines our understanding of comorbidities and risk factors and notes how they have changed.
Doctor Insights

Patients presenting with headaches, by Dariush Saghafi, MD

Neurologist Dariush Saghafi, MD, presented an informative and engaging presentation on how to evaluate headaches in primary care.
Doctor Insights

A new approach to wellness

Chronic non-communicable diseases are now the leading cause of death, many primary care doctors are incorporating lifestyle medicine into their practices.
Doctor Insights

September is World Alzheimer’s Month

September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day — a time to bring awareness and education to this irreversible, progressive disease that affects more than six million Americans.
Doctor Insights

Aging and health for all adults: A health primer

The following information is contained in an initial primer on optimal aging and health written during COVID-19 to specifically help educate caregivers of the elderly.
Doctor Insights

Role of BCG vaccines in preventing infectious diseases other than TB

Is there a role for BCG vaccines in preventing infectious diseases other than TB?
Read more

Not just a doctor —
your doctor